What is TB? 

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that mostly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), though it can affect other organs other organs such as the brain, liver, kidneys, and spine too (extra-pulmonary TB). It is preventable and treatable. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TB infects 10 million people and kills 1.5 million people annually, making it the second leading  infectious killer most infectious killer after Covid-19.  

In Kenya, an estimated 139,000 people developed TB in 2020, with 21, 000 people dying because of the disease in that year. You can read more about TB in Kenya in this report 

How is TB spread?  

The bacteria that cause TB are spread from person to person through tiny droplets that are released into the air when a person who is infected with TB coughs, sneezes, talks, spits, sings or laughs.   



TB can be active or inactive. If you breathe in the germs that cause TB and get sick you have active TB, which is also known as TB disease. Only someone with active TB can spread the disease.  Being in close contact for a long period with someone who has TB disease increases your chances of being infected with the disease. 

On the other hand, having inactive TB, means that you were infected with the germs that cause TB, but your body was able to fight it off and you did not become sick.  People with TB infection do not have any signs and symptoms of the disease and they do not spread the disease. However, if their immune system weakens, they can develop TB disease.   

Who can get TB? 

People who are at a higher risk of developing TB include: 

  1. People with low immunity including:  

-people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and  

-people affected by risk factors such as malnutrition, diabetes, cancer patients, chronic alcoholism, and smoking.  

      2. People who have been in close contact for a long period with someone who has active TB.   


Signs and symptoms of active TB:  

The common signs and symptoms of active TB include: 

  • Coughing 
  • Coughing up blood  
  • Drenching night sweats (when a person wakes up soaked in sweat) 
  • Chest pain, or pain when breathing and coughing  
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Feeling tired constantly or general weakness 
  • Fever and chills 
  • Shortness of breath  

TB can also affect other parts of your body apart from the lungs. When this happens, the signs and symptoms will be different according to the organs that will be affected. For example, TB of the kidneys may cause you to have blood in your urine, or TB of the membranes around the brain (TB meningitis) may cause headaches and confusion.  


TB treatment is FREE in Kenyan public health facilities, including all health facilities across Kakuma and Hagadera refugee camps.   

Kakuma Health Facilities 



Kaapoka Health Centre / Main Hospital 

Kakuma 1 

Lochangamor Dispensary / Clinic 4 

Kakuma 1 

Hong-Kong Dispensary / Clinic 2 

Kakuma 2 

Nalemsekon Dispensary/ Clinic 5 

Kakuma 2 

Nationokor Dispensary / Clinic 6 

Kakuma 3 

Ammusait General Hospital /IRC General Hospital 

Kakuma 4 

Natukubenyo Health Center / Kalobeyei Health centre 

Kalobeyei V1 

Naregae Dispensary/ Kalobeyei Village 2 Clinic 

Kalobeyei V2 


Dadaab Health facilities:  



Red Cross 

Ifo Camp   

MSF Hospital 

Dagahaley Camp 

Hagadera refugee camp hospital 

Hagadera refugee camp 


It is important to go to the hospital if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. You should also go to the hospital if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for TB.   

Both TB infection and TB disease are curable. 

If you have TB Infection, your doctor might advise you to take medication before it develops to active TB.  

Treatment for active TB involves taking antibiotics for a minimum of six months. If you follow your doctor’s instructions and adhere to these medications, you stop being contagious after a few weeks.  

Getting treated for TB will help you to get better and prevent the spread of the disease to others. If you test positive for active TB, you are advised to follow these tips to keep those around you safe: 

  • Stay home during the first few weeks of treatment. In case you cannot stay home, try to keep your distance from others and: 
  • Wear a face mask when around people. 
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue any time you cough, sneeze, or laugh, then throw the tissue into a pit latrine.  
  •  Ensure your rooms have free flow of air. The bacteria that cause TB spread more easily in closed spaces that don’t have free flow of air.  

Most importantly, ensure you FINISH your medication. When you stop taking the medication or skip doses, the TB bacteria mutates (changes) and develops a resistance to the drugs.  


All children born in Kenya receive the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine immediately after birth. The BCG vaccine protects your child against severe forms of TB, including TB meningitis.  The vaccine is given as an injection on the left arm of the baby and leaves a scar.  All mothers should ensure that their children receive this vaccine before they are discharged from hospital after delivery. The vaccine is given for free at all Kenyan public health facilities including the health facilities across the camps.  

If you have any questions about TB and its treatment, please write to us via the Julisha.Info Facebook page, Monday to Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.