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The increasing rate of TB burden in Uganda calls for attention

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Following the increasing rate of TB cases in the country, experts express concern over the alarming reasons for this increase as 240 people in Uganda contract TB everyday, which calls for attention.

According to research, 91,000 people in Uganda contract TB every year of which 32% get infected with HIV, 2 out of every 100 are resistant and 15% of the TB cases are among children below 14 years.

In this, the Uganda case research collaboration came up with a survey on TB treatment which is to take a period of 5 years being done in phases as phase zero was done in animals to confirm if it can be used by people without causing any negative effects and phase 2 where they are testing safety and efficacy, and testing if it fulfills the intended objectives.

According to Doctor Timothy Muwanguzi from Uganda case research collaboration, they first take the patients through different tests such as blood count, allergies, the liver and others, to ensure that by the time they start the treatment, it safely responds to their bodies.

Speaking to journalists during a media science cafe hosted by the health journalists network in Uganda, the increasing TB burden in the country is caused by different reasons such as people fearing health facilities since they take long and others test and don’t return for the results due to busy schedule, poor health seeking behaviour, TB being a slow progressing disease making people reluctant, poor diagnosing facilities, among others.

Doctor Muwanguzi revealed that the relationship between TB and poverty is that poverty exposes people to contract TB noting people living in slum areas who live congested and over crowded in poorly ventilated houses making it easy for TB transmission from one person to another.

Additionally, Dr. Muwanguzi revealed that according to the ‘kawempe’ study they conducted in 2000 strictly on contacts, measuring ventilation verses the number of people in the room and verses the size of the room, they concluded that whenever a 3 by 3 metres room is used by more than 3 people, the chances of all of them contracting TB is 95%, sharing plates, cups, cigarettes among others make it easy for TB to be transmitted, noting that more should be done to sensitize people about TB.

In the same perspective, a community technical officer from USAID Sylvia Nassozi, said they test link people on treatment and continue monitoring them until they get better. In this, they want to make sure that patients complete their treatment.

Another expert Doreen Namataka urged people to endeavor testing for TB since in most cases, it doesn’t show direct symptoms. She added that it is only through testing that people may prove the type of TB one may have to get the proper treatment and get better. She revealed the different types of TB being TB of the stomach, bornes, chest, coughing among others.

This cafe also involved TB survivors who shared their experiences through the challenges when they contracted TB especially when they started treatment. Muzafaru Kiyengo Khalifan noted that people don’t know that TB can be cured as they know more about HIV but not TB, expressing need for sensitisation about TB in communities.

Another survivor Fred Ebil expressed the need for social support to TB survivors since they go through stigmatisation and discrimination during the time of treatment. He added that due to the challenges he faced, they created a fellowship called the TB survivors Uganda to bring together TB survivors and encourage them to move on with life after the challenges.

In the same cafe, the President of the health journalists Network Uganda Ester Nakazzi noted that this cafe was intended to equip journalists with knowledge on how to report on issues concerning people’s health and help communities to get what they require for the good of their health.

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