Medical doctors say the number is too high since the globally allowed figure is 5 percent of all detected cases.
being treated for Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis succumb to the disease.
Medical doctors say the
number is too high since the globally allowed figure is 5 percent of all
detected cases. Annually, an estimated 1,500 cases of MDRTB are registered in
the country either as first-time or progressive infections.
records from the ministry of health, only 500 patients are diagnosed and
enrolled in treatment. However, from these only 80 percent complete treatment
and are cured.
Dr. Abel Nkolo the head of the defeat TB program in Uganda attributes the high
number of deaths to the comorbidities that they have.
"These are very
sick patients who can die from anything either from the disease itself or
comorbidities like HIV, anemia, hypertension, or renal disease," he said.
In addition to
comorbidities, side effects of TB medication have also been linked to deaths.
It is believed that the drugs have high levels of toxicity that can lead to
deafness, kidney failure, and even death in some cases.
To prevent the deaths, Dr. Nkolo says high dependency units are needed for TB
patients. He adds that for this to happen, the government needs to invest more
in TB care.
"When patients with
MDRTB end up in the hospital, they need special care. Many of them need to be
put on oxygen to help with their breathing and even monitor other body organs.
As of now we do not have those units in place but are working with what we have
to ensure that these patients get the care that they need," he said.
Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga, a
senior technical advisor at the National Control TB and Leprosy Programme at
the Ministry of Health says the government is working towards investing more in
TB care in the country.
"It is true that
more investments for MDRTB are needed. At the moment majority of the treatment
depends on donors but the government is working towards increasing investments
in TB care. The government is now procuring all first-line TB drugs and we
believe that in the near future, spending more MDRT would have increased,"
In addition to increasing investment, Dr. Nkolo says more work needs to be done
to track all MDRTB patients.
can only track around 450 to 500 TB patients annually. But we know that an
estimated 1,000 go undetected which affects treatment outcomes for the disease.
To have more people surviving, we need to make sure all people are on treatment
and complete it," he said.