In collaboration with National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), Mombasa County, Reach Out Kenya, and other partners, CHS conducted a one-week targeted TB community outreach at the Miritini Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, Mombasa. The outreach, which ran from May 23 – 27, focused on health care worker sensitisations, TB screening, and referral for persons with substance use disorders.
During the outreach launch, Winnie Guchu, the Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, noted that partnerships allow for quality and integrated health service delivery for people suffering from substance abuse and local communities.
“People who abuse drugs are very prone to getting TB. From our discussions with CHS and NACADA, we agreed to integrate TB screening and treatment as we rehabilitate our patients. We will work towards making the rehabilitation center a one-stop shop where we will be providing various health services,” CAS Guchu noted.
NACADA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Victor Okioma said the outreach was cognisant of the correlation between drug abuse, TB, and HIV. “Drug users continue to be in a group of high risk for tuberculosis, HIV, and other diseases. The screening and identification of TB among drug users are critical.”
Substance abusers account for an estimated 3% of TB patients. Persons who inject drugs are more likely to be infected with TB and have a higher risk of progression of active TB. CHS, USAID funded Tuberculosis Accelerated Response and Care II (TB ARC II) activity. Chief of Party, Dr Lorraine Mugambi-Nyaboga, emphasised the need for accelerated efforts in the fight against TB among people with substance abuse use disorder.
“Placement of a digital X-ray machine at this facility will go a long way in TB screening among this population due to the suppressed cough reflex resulting from drug abuse,” Dr Lorraine said. She added that CHS through TB ARC II would support the capacity building of the health workers through training to provide TB services.
During the outreach, 637 clients were screened for TB and other ailments, and those found to have TB initiated on treatment.