By MAUREEN ODIWUOR
Stool testing for bilharzia (Schistosomiasis) may soon be a thing of the past if the just ended positive trial of using urine specimen will be adopted.
Prof Daniel Colley, director Centre for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, says several tests have been conducted to get rid of the clumsiness of using stool specimen and replacing it with urine rapid diagnostic kits that will ease testing of the disease.
This, he said, will enable them reach out to many people suffering from bilharzia, which is one among the many Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD).
Centre for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases is an international agency that has been working with Government funded Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) on the mission to develop the new bilharzia testing method.
“We have conducted several tests in Kenya, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia,” he said.
Colley said they published data concerning the findings in each of the countries where the research was done, which was then combined together and tests conducted.
“Other tests indicated the urine kits are as good as the stool ones still in use and we hope the Government of Kenya will embrace the new testing equipment,” he advised.
The test kits are currently available in South Africa.
“People usually get comfortable with what they are used to and it takes a lot of time for new ways to be adopted,” he said.
The professor was speaking during the Kemri-CGHR (Centre for Global Health Research) 6th Annual NTD Symposium held in Kisumu yesterday.
Colley said community involvement in creating bilharzia advocacy in the country is still vital as not many people are aware of the fact that they have the disease until they start showing at advanced levels.
Kisumu Branch NTD Chief Diana Karanja said the prevalence rate of bilharzia becomes higher as one moves towards the lake.