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Background: Although health is a fundamental human right, there is a growing concern that this right is not being realized in Africa. This is vindicated by the current preventable disease burdens caused by viral, bacterial, fungal and other infectious agents, especially among the poor. Among these etiological agents, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacterium that causes tuberculosis, is the most prevalent. The increase in HIV infections in Kenya has led to continued mortality and morbidity. Moreover, the emergence of drug resistant TB has vastly complicated its management and treatment.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of tuberculosis among patients attending Mbagathi District Hospital in Nairobi County in Kenya.
Study design: Examination of patients’ record books at a TB laboratory.
Setting: Mbagathi District Hospital, a government hospital located next to Kibera, the largest slum in the city.
Subjects: All patients who attend the hospital’s TB clinic from 2009 to 2011, and whose names appeared in the Laboratory Tuberculosis record books.
Results: TB is prevalent at Mbagathi Hospital over the period studied was 22.2%. The most affected age group is 21-30 years. Most of the infected patients were males (63%). Most of the highly infected patients were from the Kibera, Mathare and Lang’ata slums.
Conclusion: Tuberculosis is highly prevalent among patients attending Mbagathi district. In this regard, there is high risk of service providers and service users being infected by TB at the hospital. The risk of transmission of this disease especially to the young children and to HIV patients is particularly worrying. There is need for early detection and timely diagnosis of TB which can be achieved by improving diagnostic equipment and training laboratory personnel and by creating awareness about symptoms of TB in communities so that people can visit the hospital for treatment before the disease becomes serious.