Detention of people lost to follow-up on TB treatment in Kenya : the need for human rights-based alternatives

Mburu, Gitau and Restoy, Enrique and Kibuchi, Evaline and Holland, Paula Jane and Harries, Anthony (2016) Detention of people lost to follow-up on TB treatment in Kenya : the need for human rights-based alternatives. Health and Human Rights Journal, 18 (1). pp. 43-54. ISSN 1079-0969

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Adherence to treatment is a key element for global TB control. Public health laws can be used to enforce isolation, adherence, and completion of TB treatment. However, the practical application of public health laws can potentially range from voluntary measures to involuntary detention approaches. This paper explores the potential risks and impacts of using detention approaches to enforce TB treatment adherence. In August 2015, we conducted a literature search regarding the application of public health laws to enforce adherence to TB treatment globally, and specifically in Kenya. Texts were analyzed using narrative synthesis. Results indicated that in Kenya, people lost to follow-up on TB treatment are frequently detained in prisons. However, incarceration and detention approaches curtail the rights to health, informed consent, privacy, freedom from non-consensual treatment, freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment, and freedom of movement of people lost to follow-up. Detention could also worsen social inequalities and lead to a paradoxical increase in TB incidence. We suggest the incorporation of less intrusive solutions in legislation and policies. These include strengthening health systems to reduce dependency on prisons as isolation spaces, decentralizing TB treatment to communities, enhancing treatment education, and addressing socioeconomic, and structural determinants associated with TB incidence and loss to follow-up.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Health and Human Rights Journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? health(social science)political science and international relationssociology and political science ??
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Deposited On:
06 May 2016 14:22
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:23