Why is TB preventive therapy (TPT) important in your community?
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of illness and death for people living with HIV in Kenya. In fact, a quarter of TB patients in Kenya are co-infected with HIV. Currently, Kenya has a functional TB preventive therapy (TPT) programme and has been offering isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) to people living with HIV (PLHIV) and children under five years old who are contacts of bacteriologically-confirmed TB. In Kenya, of the annual TB cases, about 10 percent occur in children (under 15 years of age). Children with TB comprise about 10-12% of the total TB cases diagnosed in the country. To reduce TB related deaths and suffering among people living with HIV, prevention of TB among PLHIV is paramount.
Coverage of TPT in the region has been low. For instance, in 2019, there were 1,249 PLHIV that were eligible for IPT, but only 1,145 were initiated, leaving behind 104 people who weren’t started on IPT. Documentation for children who are put on TB prevention therapy is also weak in the region, a result of low knowledge among health care providers.
Can you describe the major goals of your IMPAACT4TB advocacy project? How will your work advance access to TB preventative therapy in your country?
We’d like to scale up access to TPT/3HP among PLHIV and children under five years old by improving the knowledge of healthcare workers and community health volunteers on TPT in the entire Westlands sub-county region.
What gaps do you think are important to address?
The gaps in supply of short-course TPT is key – currently, the country is not stocked up for the short-course TPT regimen. Documentation of TPT has been a challenge since the country uses a lot of paperwork, missing out on some uptake data.