It looks like Uganda is winning the fight against Tuberculosis(TB) with the ministry of health revealing an increase in the number of patients recovering and a fall in mortality rates.
Credit was also given to the United States Agency for International Development the funders of the defeat TB program. The USAID Defeat TB Activity (Defeat TB) is a five-year project with a central goal of increasing TB case detection and treatment success to 90% of all cases in a bid to end the TB epidemic in Uganda.
Dr. Mary Nabukenya Mudiope, the project director USAID said;
“The US government through USAID committed 17.6 million dollars to fund this five-year project that has mandate as a national TB program in the 3 districts of Kampala, wakes, and Mukono and also the 7 general referral hospitals that manage the drug-resistant TB but also to provide technical assistance to the rest of the partners as regards TB control on Uganda. It is implemented by the infectious disease institute in consortium with the aids support organization TASO as the partner that will be leading in the community engagements. Later in the course of year 2, we will be working with civil society organizations to enhance the community engagements.”
Dr Daniel Kyebayinze the Director of public health at the Ministry of health who made the revelations said;
“People used to think TB is not curable, we want to say TB is curable and that message needs to reach everybody.”
Dr Akello Suzan, the head of the Mulago hospital TB unit said,
“We’ve been slowly making improvements from 62 to 70 and now we are at 80% currently. So meaning that currently of every 100 patients that we manage, 80 are cured”
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TB presents as a Cough for three or more weeks, Coughing up blood or mucus, Chest pain, or pain with, breathing or coughing, Unintentional weight loss, Fatigue, Fever, Night sweats, and Chills.
Dr Kyebayinze cautioned the public to stay alert and seek medical attention as soon as they present with symptoms of TB.
“We are reducing the number of people dying due to TB but that can only happen if we quickly detect the disease and we are able to appropriately make the diagnosis.”
Whereas more diagnosed patients are being healed of the disease, a USAID report points out inefficiencies in the detection and diagnosis of multi-drug-resistant TB;
“Of every 1,500 people with multi-drug-resistant TB only 500 are detected and appropriately treated. This puts Ugandans and other people in the community at risk.” Dr Kyabayinze said
The ministry of health has now launched a survey to ascertain the magnitude of the Multidrug-resistant TB problem. Dr. Ramone Braruhanga, the senior technical advisor at the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy program said;
“We have instituted a drug resistance survey and this survey is going to look at the burden of MDRTB in the country. This is due to start in July and shall take about a year. Within a year we shall know the gravity or the problem of multi-drug-resistant TB and then we can be able to target more clearly with the technology and services that we have.”