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Minister of Health calls for accelerated action to end tuberculosis deaths

Uganda commemorated World Tuberculosis Day under the theme, “It Is Time for Uganda to End TB”, and the slogan, “It Starts With Me” at a national function at Ruhama sub-county grounds in Ntungamo District.

The Minister of State for Health in Charge of Primary Health Care, Dr Joyce Moriku, presided over the commemoration at which she called for a strengthened multisector approach and accountability framework in the country for a coordinated TB response. She particularly stressed the need for sustained advocacy and increased awareness creation to generate demand for TB services in the country.

Fortunately, to enhance TB diagnosis, the country has procured and strategically distributed 249 Gene Xpert machines to 227 health facilities throughout the country. The government has also availed free TB treatment for drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB of 6 and 12 months, respectively. These shortened regiments should encourage patients to adhere to the treatment schedule.

However, Uganda remains one of the 30-high burden TB/HIV countries in the world. According to the National Population-based, TB Disease Prevalence Survey conducted between 2014–15, the prevalence of TB was 253 cases for every 100 000 people. The threat of multi-drug-resistant TB is very high since the country reports only 26% of the estimated multi-drug-resistant TB cases. For example in 2017, only 489 multi-drug-resistant TB cases of the estimated 1 900 were detected.

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