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Over 300 Initiated on TB Preventive Therapy in Gulu

Ojok says during the campaign that included activities like contact tracing and investigations of contacts of index TB patients and community TB hotspot screening, they screened 5,501 community members.
Hundreds of people turned up for COVID -19 testing at Gulu District Health Offices last week -Photo by Jesse Johnson James

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Over 372 people in Gulu have been initiated on the Tuberculosis Preventive -TB Therapy after getting in contact with TB patients. 158 out of these are children under five years of age while 214 were previously listed for the preventive therapy after getting in contact with TB patients but don’t present with any TB signs and symptoms.  

Jacob Ojok, the Gulu District TB Focal Point Person told URN in an interview that the 372 people were discovered during the ‘Tuberculosis Catch UP Campaign’ conducted between May 24th and 30th. He says the preventive therapy shall take six months. Ojok says during the campaign that included activities like contact tracing and investigations of contacts of index TB patients and community TB hotspot screening, they screened 5,501 community members.

He says 1,240 presented with the signs and symptoms of TB had their samples tested. He revealed that 79 out of the 1,240 community members tested positive and were immediately initiated on TB treatment. Ojok revealed that they are still waiting for the other test results since 4 out of 18 health facilities that collected the samples have not yet submitted their reports to his office.

The latest TB positive cases in Gulu bring to 1,000, the number of TB positive cases registered in the district since January this year. According to Ojok, they also traced 56 TB patients who disappeared between April and September last year due to the COVID -19 pandemic. He said 46 of them have since resumed TB treatment. Clara Oloya, the in –Charge of Aywee Health Center III in Pece –Laroo Division, says that the health facility with assistance from the Ministry of Health trained 12 Village Health Team –VHTs and 5 health workers to collect samples from the community.

According to Oloya, between May 28th and 29th, the team collected 144 samples, 11 of which were found positive and immediately initiated on treatment.  William Onyai, the Gulu District Health Educator, says there were dozens of TB patients on treatment before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak but a lot of them abandoned treatment during the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID -19.  

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Onyai revealed that TB contact tracing will continue. He asked the community to observe the Standard Operating Procedures to avoid contracting COVID -19 since they also help curb the spread of TB. 

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According to reports from Gulu District Health Department, the district has failed to meet its treatment target of 80 percent for the last three years due to lack of adherence to medication, missed appointment and the fact that some patients transfer their treatment centers without letters making it hard to trace them.


Gulu District registers between 1,200 and 1,500 TB cases annually, which is way beyond the expected 900 cases. This is because the district directed its attention and effort to fight HIV/AIDS after its prevalence rose to 14 percent. TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers.

Each day, nearly 4,000 lose their lives to TB and close to 28,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 63 million lives since the year 2000.