Irambu Mwaki, owner, AfyaMax medical clinic, Gakoromone Market, Meru County .AfyaMax is one of the Tunza franchise private facilities network in Kenya being supported by Tuberculosis Accelerated Response and Care II (TB ARC II) activity to offer TB screening
Irambu Mwaki, a clinician, owns and operates AfyaMax Medical Clinic at the busy Gakoromone market, Imenti North, Meru County. AfyaMax joined the Tunza franchise private facilities network in Kenya three years ago providing; TB screening, diabetic and hypertension management, family planning, HIV counselling and testing services.
The clinic is among the first cohort of 60 Tunza facilities spread in the high TB burden counties of Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Isiolo that are offering tuberculosis screening and referral services after a tuberculosis integrated curriculum training. The training was offered by Population Services Kenya, a sub awardee of Tuberculosis Accelerated Response and Care II (TB ARC II) activity being implemented by Centre for Health Solutions – Kenya with funding from USAID-Kenya.
The aim of this engagement is to expand TB screening in the private sector, which is the primary health contact point for a large majority of Kenyans across the country as noted in the 2016 Kenya Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey by the Ministry of Health.
The training sensitized providers on disease epidemiology, screening and diagnosis, infection control and sample transportation. It was also an important opportunity to link the providers with their respective County Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control officers who assist in the provision of commodities and linkage to diagnostic sites with GeneXpert machines.
Mr. Mwaki has embraced the activity and its potential of turning the TB tide in Meru County.
“The training has helped me know more about TB practically, beyond what is written in textbooks. Enrolling in the program has been good: it is still early days, but things are going well,” Mr. Mwaki said.
During the training, AfyaMax was mapped to the Meru County Level 5 Hospital and Mr. Mwaki continues to receive the necessary support from the facility and the sub-county team. The Tunza providers were also given registers that they use to record sputum specimens, and falcon tubes to collect, record and transport sputum specimens to the linked diagnostic sites.
“I personally take the collected sputum to the hospital for testing: I collect the results after 24 hours or at most 72 hours. If a patient is confirmed, I also take them to the hospital myself. This helps reduce stigma and losing clients to follow-up,” noted Mr. Mwaki.
It is this human-centred approach to patient care that will help Meru County find missing TB cases, link them to treatment and reduce the prevalence of the disease in the region.
Tunza clinics like AfyaMax are an example of the contribution that private health facilities can make towards the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis. The facilities are crucial in helping Kenya achieve its 2023 priority outcomes of diagnosing and treating 597,000 people for TB, and 4,500 people for multi-drug resistant TB as espoused in the Kenya National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Lung Health 2019-2023 launched during this year’s World Tuberculosis Day.