April 1, 2014

Kitgum TB Patients Default Treatment

Alex Odong, the Kitgum district Health official has expressed concern on the alarming rate of Tuberculosis patients defaulting on treatment.

TB patient receiving the multi drug resistance treatment at Kitgum Hospital
TB patient receiving the multi drug resistance treatment at Kitgum Hospital

He said that in Lagoro Sub County where 53 of the 60 registered Tuberculosis patients have defaulted on treatment and disappeared without trace.

Odong says defaulting on treatment is the biggest challenge the district is facing in managing and treating the curable disease among many communities.

Ministry of Health estimates that up to 60,000 people are living with Tuberculosis in Uganda.

To commemorate the World Tuberculosis Day 2014, the Ministry of Health sent out medical workers and partners in a new campaign to reach treat and cure the 60,000 patients.

The Northern Uganda Health Integration for Enhanced Services (NUHITES) is one of the many partners working with the Ministry of Health and the National TB Treatment Programme to achieve this objective.

Michael Ochora, the NUHITES’ Communications Manager says their major focus is on multi drug resistant Tuberculosis which drives up the cost of treatment in Uganda.

Ochora says up to 90 cases of multi drug resistant Tuberculosis strain have been handled at the Kitgum treatment center which handles patients from the  entire Acholi sub region since 2011. He explains that 58 have been treated and at least 11 have been cured.

Another 45 are being treated from lower health units in the district while two that had HIV/AIDS have succumbed to the disease.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), defaulting on TB treatment causes higher rates of relapse and increased treatment expenses.

WHO ranks Uganda among countries with a high TB incidence, currently estimated at 40 out of every 100,000 people. Dr Francis Adatu, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programmes Manager, says it costs between 200 and US$300 to treat one TB patient, and US$3000 to treat a patient with multi drug resistant TB.

Dr. Adatu recently said that 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

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