Kenya on Thursday announced an elaborate plan to eliminate trachoma, elephantiasis, mother to child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Ms Sicily Kariuki said the government had formed teams to work on modalities of helping eradicate tropical neglected diseases.
“The elimination of Guinea worm and smallpox in the country is an indication that these diseases to can be eliminated,’’ Kariuki told journalists in Nairobi.
According to her, the teams would be officially announced in the next 10 days to start making modalities on elimination of the diseases, noting that Kenya was keen on eliminating trachoma, a disease that causes blindness and mainly affects pastoralist communities by 2019.
“In collaboration with our partners, we plan to provide antibiotic treatment to approximately 2.8 million people and offer surgeries to about 41,500 affected citizens,” she added.
Kariuki said the government was also working toward the elimination of elephantiasis by 2020, a parasitic infection which is transmitted through mosquitoes.
She observed that elephantiasis was a treatable and ought to be eliminated through mass treatment with appropriate antibiotics.
She noted that plans to eliminate mother- to-child transmission of HIV as well as congenital syphilis by 2021 “is also complete’’.
“Early signs of these are already emerging with some health facilities reporting zero mother-to-child transmission of HIV over the past year,” Kariuki said.
She said that the government was set to introduce Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccinations in 2019, coupled with rigorous screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions.
Kariuki noted that the country also had plans to eradicate cervical cancer and Hepatitis C, adding that the country now had safe and efficacious treatments for Hepatitis C that are now being provided particularly to people, who inject drugs.
“In the late 1980s, tetanus used to kill about seven out of every 1,000 children born alive, but that is now down to less than one per every of 1,000 children, a reduction of more than 90 per cent,” she revealed.
She said that the ministry of health staff embrace the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by the year 2022 and would leverage on the support from the political good will to step up our disease eradication efforts.
“Our planned disease eradication is a significant contribution towards the realization of UHC,” she added.