Expert: TB Funding Insufficient

2618 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
The number of people suffering from Tuberculosis -TB in Mbale district is increasing with a total of 1, 034 new cases registered this year alone, according to Constance Mubuya, the District TB Focal Person. Dr Francis Adatu, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programmes Manager, says the Uganda government allocates only Shs 18 million for TB care and treatment in the country, which is not enough to cater for the of new cases.

The number of people suffering from Tuberculosis -TB in Mbale district is increasing with a total of 1, 034 new cases registered this year alone, according to Constance Mubuya, the District TB Focal Person.
 
In 2011, up to 1000 cases were registered in the district.

Mubuya says in the last five years, Mbale district has been registering an increase in the number of TB cases.

He says that 5 percent of the new victims have died this year alone compared to only 3 percent in 2011.

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Mubuya says nine of the new cases have been diagnosed with the new Multi Resistance Tuberculosis this year compared to only four last year.

Mubuya fears that the victims might succumb to the infection since government has failed to get the drug for the new TB.

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Mubuya explains that among the 1, 034 victims, 57 percent are also infected with HIV/Aids. He said of these about 60 percent die while on treatment.

The focal person also says that the rate of the HIV infection in the district is worrying with the prevalence rate standing at 6.1 percent against the national prevalence of 6.7 percent. He explains that the rate of HIV/Aids infection in the district is making it hard to fight the TB saying the two go together.

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He accordingly encourages locals to regularly test themselves to know their HIV status so that they can always seek early treatment to avoid cases of co-infections.

With 102,000 new cases every year, Uganda is ranked sixteenth out of the 22 countries with the highest burden of tuberculosis.

Dr Francis Adatu, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programmes Manager, disclosed that 45,546 new TB cases had been identified in Uganda by the end of last year. Of these 545 were confirmed to be HIV positive.

He explains that 330 out of 100,000 people get infected per year in every constituency. Out of 100,000 people infected by TB, 93 die and the number of deaths has been accelerated by HIV.

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 there is lack of drug adherence in TB patients that has resulted in multi drug resistance, which is difficult and expensive to treat.
 
More than 230 patients are on the drug waiting list for second line TB treatment after developing multi drug resistance, while 870 new cases are waiting for TB drugs.

Dr Adatu revealed it costs between 200 and US$300 to treat one TB patient, and US$3000 to treat a patient with multi drug resistant TB.

In order to have a world free of TB, Dr Adatu said governments must allocate more resources to tackle the disease and empower people with TB and the communities in which they live to control the disease.

He said the Ugandan government only allocates UGX18 million for TB care and treatment in the country, which is not enough to cater for the number of new cases arising.