Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Luwero district has registered an increase in Tuberculosis Treatment and cure rates giving hope in the fight against deaths as result of the disease.
According to the Luwero District health report, the number of patients who were enrolled on TB treatment increased from 65% in 2018 to 88.7% in the financial year 2020/21. The report also indicates that the TB cure rate increased significantly from 22% in 2018 to 74% in 2020/21.
The Luwero District TB Focal Person, Samuels Bagonza says that 164 out of 186 patients enrolled on TB drugs completed the treatment whereas 78 out of 105 patients confirmed by laboratory tests were cured of the disease in the year 2020/21.
Bagonza attributed the significant increase in the availability of drugs at 31 TB treatment centers spread in the district as well as support from partners in tracing patients to ensure they complete treatment.
Bagonza says that the TB cure success rates are important in reducing the spread of the disease, deaths and developing multi-resistant drug TB.
He however noted that 6% died of the disease after they turned up late for treatment and health centers lost contact with 5% other patients who were diagnosed with the disease.
Bagonza says that in the year 2021/22, the district has set to attain a target of 95% for TB treatment success rate and 85% for cured patients. The district intends to achieve the targets through quarterly patients audit at facilities and ensure they those enrolled complete the TB treatment.
Patients at Luwero hospital declined to be interviewed on the story in fear that they could be stigmatized in communities.
Steven Sseruyange, the Coordinator of Bukuma Organization for People Living With HIV/AIDS said due to tracing and transporting of drugs to TB Patients, the rates have increased.
He however asked the health workers to intensify sensitization in the communities because some patients are not yet aware that TB can be cured that is why they resort to witchcraft and herbal medicines.
Sseruyange adds that some other patients also submit wrong contact details to health workers which affects tracing them for treatment and this is partly due to fear of stigmatization something that can also be fought through health education.
According to the Annual Health Sector Performance report, National TB Treatment Success Rate improved from 72% in FY 2018/19 to 78% in 2019/20. This was contributed to by a collaborative quality improvement effort that involved improving adherence to treatment and TB preventive therapy.
However, there was a steady decline in the childhood TB cases detected. This is partly attributed to limited access to screening and diagnosis following the COVID-19 lockdown.
The report recommends Joint efforts to ensure continuity of health services amidst COVID-19 outbreak by redistribution of samples for TB testing, strengthen community systems for case finding and patient adherence.