Tackling the Tuberculosis Disease Burden

Whereas, there is need to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) from the whole Country, Karamoja, and in particular, Kaabong District, need urgent special attention, in order to identify and take action against the root causes of the exceptionally high TB and HIV infection rates in that geography.

Some refugees come into the Country when they are already infected with TB. Since TB is an airborne infectious disease, and it is the Government’s policy to allow refugees to live freely among Uganda’s population, there is a need for mass mandatory screening of refugees.

There is a lot of cross-border movement by the citizens of East African (EA) countries, for trade and tourism, especially. This makes TB a cross-border issue. Joint EA wide efforts are needed to fight TB.

Uganda’s TB management policy which allows for TB patients who should be under quarantine to be treated as out-patients needs to be reviewed, particularly so, for patients that are infected with Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB).

Food insecurity should not be the reason for releasing MDR-TB patients from hospital. And it is not enough to provide food rations to TB patients, because it is not sustainable. TB takes a long time to treat and cure. Food security solutions that provide food for entire households are recommended.

Having sufficient diagnostic capacity can stem the spread of TB. Undiagnosed cases and diagnosed cases that wait too long to receive treatment are worrying. There should be no undiagnosed TB cases. Diagnosing TB should be prioritised and testing turn-around times shortened.

These recommendations are based on the findings of an empirical qualitative investigation into TB in Uganda. The PDF (3 pages) of the detailed discussion of the findings from which these recommendations are derived, “Discussion of Research Findings on Prevalence of Pulmonary Tuberculosis in Greater Northern Uganda”, is available to download free.

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