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TB treatment under focus as coronavirus cases increase

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When Hubert Nyagaka, 46, tested positive for tuberculosis (TB), it was a case of him and his family reliving a health nightmare, nine years after his wife was diagnosed with the same disease.

In early 1999, his wife fell sick, but it didn’t take long before the doctors identified what was ailing her.

But this time around in 2008, Mr Nyagaka’s case proved to be a difficult one, as what he thought at the beginning was a cough and flu went on for nearly two months.

“I thought it was flu where I kept going to different private hospitals, getting medication but it wouldn’t just go away.”

However, this finally came to pass after being taken to a private hospital in Kangemi, where X-ray results confirmed it was TB.

“I was referred to Kangemi Health Centre, a public hospital near where I lived, where my sputum sample was taken and tested, and two weeks later, it was confirmed that I had the disease and immediately put on medication,” he says.

His six-month treatment was between August 2008 and early March 2009, after which he was declared TB-free.

Mr Nyagaka and his wife were among the lucky who recovered after suffering from this disease that continues to claim lives, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), TB is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/Aids.

More than 25 percent of TB deaths occur in Africa, Kenya being one of the 30 high-burden countries that account for more than 80 percent of the world’s TB cases.

In 2017, during the marking of results of the World TB Day, the Kenya Ministry of Health released results of the National TB Prevalence Survey. The report showed that 40 percent of TB cases that occur in the country remain undetected and untreated.

The report that represented data collected between 2015 and 2016, revealed that there were more TB cases in Kenya than previously estimated, with a TB prevalence of 558 per 100,000 people.

Dr Enos Masini, regional TB adviser at the World Health Organisation, and who during that time he was serving as the head of the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Lung disease programme at the Ministry of Health, says although the number has reduced, there is a lot that needs to be done to tackle this disease in the country.

Dr Masini whose responsibility includes offering technical support on adaptation and implementation of the end of TB strategy, says there is a problem with tuberculosis diagnosis, with one of the reasons being that most people who have it mostly don’t know they have the disease.

“Most people who exhibit symptoms like coughing or generally feeling unwell end up seeking care in health facilities but for one or another reason, they fail to get diagnosed,” he adds.

One of the reasons that contributes to missed diagnosis, he says, is that there are health facilities that use the old microscopy method for diagnosis.

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In 2010, the WHO approved the use of GeneXpert diagnosis method to replace microscopy. “This method is better and more accurate than the microscopy apart from being able to diagnose eight out of 10 cases. It tells whether one is suffering from the drug-sensitive TB or the drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), thus getting the necessary treatment,” he adds.

During that 2017 survey, the disease was found to be higher in young men between the ages of 25 and 34 and living in urban settings. Dr Dr Masini says a number of factors make this group to be a high-risk population for this disease.

“In many countries, men are generally affected by TB than women. A case study of Kenya, for instance, showed men in these age brackets are usually expected to move to urban areas, and most of the time end up in informal settlements due to joblessness; these areas are overcrowded, which is one of the biggest contributors of TB. Their nature of work also reduces their chances of accessing healthcare,” he explains.

For the people living with HIV, Dr Masini says they ought to continue taking their ARVs to boost their immunity.

“Though 83 percent of TB cases were HIV negative, HIV is one of the highest risk factors as it lowers immunity and gives chance for TB virus to flare. ARV therapy suppresses the virus, thus reduces chances of getting TB reduces.” Fast to the current Covid-19 pandemic, TB patients are one of the groups that are in more danger.

“People suffering from Covid-19 and TB show similar symptoms such as cough, fever and difficulty in breathing. Both diseases attack primarily the lungs and although both biological agents transmit mainly via close contact, the incubation period from exposure to disease in TB is longer,” he says.

According to Dr Masini, while the cases of Covid-19 infection in TB patients remains limited, it is anticipated that people infected with both may have poorer treatment outcomes, especially if tuberculosis treatment is interrupted.

Measures ought to be in place to limit transmission of TB and Covid-19 in crowded settings and healthcare facilities using the WHO guidelines. “Although modes of transmission of the two diseases are slightly different, administrative and personal protection measures apply to both (for example, basic infection prevention and control, cough etiquette, segregation of people suspected to be infected).”

Dr Masini says health facilities should ensure TB preventive measures are adhered to.

To reduce the chances of contracting the new coronavirus, TB patients should continue with treatment as prescribed, he says, warning that when facilities are overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases in the future, TB cases could get worse in missed diagnosis and missed drug schedules.

“When Ebola struck, people died of malaria and other diseases than Ebola, because emphasis was given to the epidemic, while other health conditions were relegated to the back seat,” he says.

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State to allow importation of four million bags of maize : The Standard

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Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The government will allow importation of four million bags of maize to cushion the country against food shortage as it battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya disclosed that a Gazette Notice will be issued soon to allow importation.
Of the four million bags, said Mr Munya, two million will be white maize and the rest the yellow variety. While white maize is meant for human consumption, yellow is for processing animal feeds.
“We will ensure that the yellow maize is restricted to animal feeds processors,” said the CS.

SEE ALSO :Uhuru has 950 days to turn around the economy

Munya said the white maize will be subjected to 14 per cent duty while yellow maize will attract 10 per cent.
“This is to ensure that the maize being imported is not cheaper than what is available locally. All these are measures to ensure availability of food and animal feeds as the country faces this disease,” he said.
The last time a similar window of importation was issued was in July 2019 where traders were allowed to bring in 12 million bags to cushion Kenyans from high prices of maize flour.

STEALING FROM THE SICK: Why hospitals are healthy wards for criminals – The Nairobian  

Speaking at Kilimo House, Munya said the government has put all the necessary mechanism in place to ensure food security during this period.
He said there is no shortage of food, but noted it is too early to determine the impact the disease will have on the sector.

SEE ALSO :Invest more in irrigation schemes, this is crucial

“Food supply is sufficient at the moment and I urge Kenyans to desist from panic buying which will warrant unnecessary shortages,” he said.
The CS urged farmers to continue with their activities, especially this planting season.
He said the government has negotiated for affordable fertiliser, now going for Sh2,300 from Sh3,800 for a 50kg bag from DAP. Coffee farmers can also buy theirs for Sh2,000 from over Sh3,000.
“Farmers should take advantage of the current rains and plant. We are alive to the fact that the country needs to be food secure even during this pandemic. We should also be aware that the agriculture sector will play a big role to steer this economy past this pandemic,” said Munya.
Operate at night

SEE ALSO :Traditional crops puff hopes for climate resilience

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Munya said even with the curfew, agro-processors should not shy away from going about their business as they are one of the exempted essential service providers.
He said soon there will be guidelines on how agro-processors will conduct their business during this curfew period.
“I had a discussion with the Ministry of Interior and we agreed that food transporters will be allowed to operate even at night. Police and county administration should provide them safe passage, and of course they have to follow the structures of checks as laid out by the Ministry of Health,” said the CS.
Munya said licensed agro-processors should work during this period with minimal interruptions even as it has been reported that police have been harassing some transporters.  
[email protected]  

SEE ALSO :How we can achieve Big Four agenda on food security


Are you suspecting that you have coronavirus? Before you rush to the hospital, do this quick easy self-assessment test. #StayHome #WashYourHands HERE.

Food securityMaizeImportationCoronavirusCOVID-19

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Huawei Full Year Revenue Jumps 19% to $123 Billion

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Huawei Technologies said on Tuesday that its revenue for 2019 amounted to 858.8 billion yuan ($123 billion), marking a 19.1% rise from the previous year but missing the company’s target.

Rotating Chairman Eric Xu noted that the revenue was in-line with original expectations but that came $12 billion short of the $135 billion target the company wanted to set in April 2019. Xu stressed that Huawei failed to reach that target due to the fact it was blacklisted by the United States in May.

The Chinese tech giant’s net profit for the twelve-month period climbed 5.6% year on year to 62.7 billion yuan. Despite the increase, profit growth was slower than in 2018 when it stood at 25%.

As part of a long-term, ongoing investment in technological innovation and research, Huawei invested 15.3% of its 2019 revenue back into R&D. Its total R&D spend over the past decade now exceeds 600 billion yuan.

“2019 was an extraordinary year for Huawei,” said Eric Xu. “Despite enormous outside pressure, our team forged ahead with a singular focus on creating value for our customers. We worked hard to earn their respect and trust, as well as that of our partners around the globe. The business remains solid.”

In 2019, Huawei’s carrier business led the commercial rollout of 5G networks. To further commercial adoption and promote new innovation in 5G applications, the company established 5G joint innovation centres together with carriers worldwide. Huawei’s RuralStar base station solutions can effectively address coverage problems in remote areas. These solutions are being used in over 50 countries and regions, bringing mobile Internet to more than 40 million people living in remote areas. In 2019, sales revenue from Huawei’s carrier business grew 3.8% year-on-year.

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Huawei’s enterprise business continues to support the digital transformation of customers across industries as the company helps lay the foundations for the digital world. Globally, more than 700 cities and 228 Fortune Global 500 companies have chosen Huawei as their digital transformation partner. In 2019, Huawei announced its computing strategy with the aim of cultivating fertile soil for the intelligent world to flourish. As part of this strategy, the company launched the world’s fastest AI processor, the Ascend 910, and the AI training cluster Atlas 900. In 2019, sales revenue from Huawei’s enterprise business reached CNY89.7 billion, up 8.6% year-on-year.

Huawei’s consumer business continues to see robust growth, with a total of 240 million smartphones shipped throughout the year. The company reports further progress in developing the Seamless AI Life ecosystem across all scenarios and devices, including personal computers, tablets, wearables, and smart screens. In 2019, sales revenue from Huawei’s consumer business reached CNY467.3 billion, up 34% year-on-year.

“The external environment will only get more complicated going forward,” Xu cautioned. “We need to keep enhancing the competitiveness of our products and services, promoting open innovation, and creating greater value for our customers and society at large. This is the only way we can seize the historic opportunities presented by the digital and intelligent transformation of industries, and maintain robust growth in the long run.”

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Do you have a tribe? : The Standard

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It was one of those times, when I had plenty of time and so little to do. Much like the quarantine times we are in.

So I decided to sit through the new Kevin Hart’s Netflix show ‘Don’t F***k It Up’. Now, I am not much a fan of Kevin Hart the person, but I do love his brand of stand-up comedy.
I was particularly interested in the episode where he addresses cheating on his then pregnant second wife; the gorgeous model Enico. Never mind that he lost his first marriage after continually cheating on his wife, but I digress.
I started watching the episode with some skepticism and judgement towards the man but by the time I was done, I had to admit that there is a reason why Kevin is the man he is.  

SEE ALSO :Will MPs be stopped from moonlighting?

He is a little man in stature, but a giant in everything else, especially now that he has conquered movie production in Tinsel town, a place where men like him (read black) don’t often ace it. He has an inimitable work ethic and more importantly he has found his tribe.
There are always four men with him; his best friends. He will not go on any live show or TV interview without them. Many may think they are groupies or just in it for his fame, but no, they are truly his tribe.
They were all friends before he hit pay dirt. And today, they play various roles around him. And when news of his cheating on his pregnant wife hit the grape vine, they formed a shield around him as he sorted out his mess.


Bishop who fought for Kenyans  

And when he got into the tragic road accident a few months ago, a death bed knocking experience, his affairs run like he wasn’t out of commission.
Do you have a tribe? I believe this is the year you find yours. 

SEE ALSO :Best cameras under Sh50,000

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No, I don’t mean people who speak your native language. I mean ‘your people’; the people who will stand by you no matter what you do.
That doesn’t mean they won’t call you out on bad habits, no…But they will hold your hand through your struggles. You will never walk alone.  
You don’t need that many people in your tribe; just people who truly see you for who you are and love you nonetheless. But you also have to be this kind of friend to them too.  


Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.

HustleKevin HartNetflixEntrepreneurship

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