Covid-19 is a respiratory disease with similarities with others. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Covid-19 is a respiratory disease with similarities with others. Photo/Lifeboat foundation

Just days after the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in Kenya, everyone in the country is racing up to be safe from the virus.

Covid-19, from the Coronavirus family, is a respiratory disease and many medical professionals have termed it as a cold. It is a close relative of Severe Anti Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which was a threat in 2003 before it was successfully contained.

Respiratory diseases have been a threat in the world for years but we have been successful in containing them. This history proves to be positive news for the world right now as it shows that Covid-19 can also be contained.

An example of a respiratory disease that has been a problem in Kenya for years is Tuberculosis (TB). Bliss Healthcare’s Medical Superintendent Dr. Amayo Amuko, who is a specialist in Tuberculosis, says that the government has been treating respiratory diseases with the seriousness they deserve.

If the government treats Covid-19 the same way it has been treating Tuberculosis or with even more seriousness then the virus can be contained in the country.

“Since 1990, TB notification rate has increased by a factor of six, mainly as a result of HIV. Despite the increased burden of the disease, cure rates have improved and rates of case detection rates have increased,” notes Amayo, “Kenya has reached the 2005 targets for both case detection and cure. Kenya has also improved funding for the same although still more needs to be done.”

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Read>> Covid-19 Factsheet on Infection, Transmission, Prevention and Care

According to Amayo, TB is not even among the top respiratory diseases considered lethal in the world right now. The fact that all these respiratory diseases have been contained shows the possibility of Covid-19 being contained as well.

Corona Virus, COVID – 19 still has a comparative of 56 deaths per day compared to Tb of 3,014 deaths per day.

Kenya is one of the 30 high burden countries that together account for more than 80% of the world’s TB cases. Kenya also faces a triple burden of HIV and TB, while TB remains the fourth highest cause of death among infectious diseases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), The big 5 lethal respiratory diseases include COPD, Asthma, Acute lower respiratory tract infection, Tuberculosis, Lung cancer. About 65 million people suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 3 million die from it each year, making it the third leading cause of death worldwide.

About 334 million people suffer from asthma, the most common chronic disease of childhood affecting 14% of all children globally. Pneumonia kills millions of people annually and is a leading cause of death among children under 5 years old. Over 10 million people develop tuberculosis (TB) and 1.4 million die from it each year, making it the most common lethal infectious disease.

Lung cancer kills 1.6 million people each year and is the most deadly cancer. Globally, 4 million people die prematurely from chronic respiratory disease. At least 2 billion people are exposed to indoor toxic smoke, 1 billion inhale outdoor pollutant air and 1 billion are exposed to tobacco smoke.

All these respiratory diseases are being contained and have not yet caused the panic that Covid-19 is causing right now. The Bliss Medical Superintendent believes that just like any other respiratory disease, Covid-19 can be contained.

“The world right now is in better shape to come up with a medical solution- a coronavirus drug or vaccine- than it’s ever been. Within a couple of weeks of discovering the outbreak, Chinese scientists sequenced the virus genome and share it with the world,” noted Amayo.

See Also>> WHO Concerned About HIV Positive, Malnourished Children as Corona Virus Spreads

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Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected]

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