Uganda ranked among the countries with high TB rate
By Hope Mafaranga November 20, 2011
Uganda is ranked the 16th among the 22 high burden countries with 102,000 new cases of Tuberculosis (TB) that occurs in the country every year.
The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programmes Manager Dr Francis Adatu disclosed that at the end of 2010, 45,546 TB new cases were identified in Uganda and of these 54 percent were confirmed to be HIV positive.
He added that 330 out of 100,000 people get infected per year in every constituency , adding that out of 100, 000 people infected by TB, 93 die and the number has been accelerated by HIV/AIDS.
“TB is the single leading killer of people living with HIV. We must detect, treat and cure TB so that people living with HIV/AIDS can live longer,” he said.
He said that TB affects economically active age group of between 15-55 years which he said has also affected the social and economic development of the country.
TB is air borne disease that was discovered in 1882 and is caused by a germ known as “Mycobacterium Tuberculosis” and if not treated, TB kills in a period of two years.
Dr Adatu explained that 85 percent of the TB patients suffer from TB of the lungs and 15 percent succumb to TB of the borne.
He said that there is lack of drug adherence in TB patients which has resulted into multi drug resistance that becomes so difficulty and expensive to treat.
He said that 226 patients are on drug waiting list of second line of TB treatment after they developed multi drug resistance while 870 new cases are waiting for drugs per year.
Dr Adatu was on Friday addressing National TB stakeholders at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala organized by Panos Eastern Africa.
Panos is information and communication for development nongovernmental organization that believes that quality information is key to development.
Dr Adatu disclosed that it costs between US D 200- 300 to treat one ordinary patient of TB, while it costs USD 3000 to treat one TB patient of multi drug resistance.
He said that in order to have a world free of TB, governments must allocate and commit more resources, empower people with TB and the communities to fight and control it.
He said that the government of Uganda only allocates sh 18m for TB care and treatment which is not enough to cater for the new cases that are raising.
He however said that Uganda’s TB priority now is to halt TB incidence, reduce prevalence rate by 50 percent death by the year 2015 and have the disease eliminated as public health problem by 2050.
He said that there is need to put TB affected people on effective treatment in order to control it.
“Uganda’s priority is effectively control TB control in order to achieve high cure rate among sputum smear positive cases,” he said.
Dr Adatu urged people to test for TB earlier in so that they can avoid contracting it.
“If you cough for more than two weeks you should go to the hospital test and have the cough investigated so that you avoid to TB,” he added.
He said that there is low community awareness and participation about TB understaffing in the general health sector which he said has affected the performance in TB control.
Peter Okubal the Executive director of Panos said that TB has been ignored yet it has continued to affect the population and claiming the lives of people.
Cathy Mwesigwa the Deputy New Vision said that despite the availability of a cure for 50 years, 2 million people die from TB every year because most people do not understand TB and its consequences and misread the symptoms.
She urged stakeholders to use the media to disseminate information especially where the aim is to effect action, change of policy, or to alter the public's view of the issues of TB.
Mwesigwa said that the media have the platform, audiences necessary to put issues on the public agenda fast, have easy access to leaders and policy makers who can instigate action where other avenues have failed.