Criminal Treatment for Kenyans with TB

Until 2016, Kenyans suffering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis who were unable to finish prescribed courses of treatment—which often involve arduous daily treks to health facilities and could last for 20 months with debilitating physical side-effects—could be subject to imprisonment.

Isolated in overcrowded prisons, treated as criminals, and facing stigma upon release, patients were incarcerated per a 1921 law to confine people infected with TB, leprosy and other infectious diseases. The practice was overturned as inhumane in 2016 by Kenyan High Courts, but the country continues to struggle with a high burden of multidrug-resistant TB. A revised National Tuberculosis Isolation Policy is forthcoming.


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