Residents ask for Mass TB Screening

At least 650 people were infected with Tuberculosis in Luweero in 2011, Bwogi Luyombya, the District TB and Leprosy Control supervisor has revealed. According to Bwogi of the 650 cases, only 490 were traced and diagnosed. In his report marking the World TB day on Thursday, Bwogi says that 240 TB patients are currently undergoing treatment after they tested positive. He however, notes that 21 TB patients died from known health centers in the district in 2011. Residents and Health workers blame the high number of deaths resulting from TB to late screening of suspected cases, lack of access to drugs and poor mobilization.

Now, residents want the district and ministry of Health to roll out a mass TB screening exercise in lower health units to curb the situation. Mary Kirabo, resident of Kavule zone in Luweero town council says that most residents link TB to HIV/Aids which has complicated the situation. She says that as a result, many residents infected with TB wait until the disease has reached advanced stages before they seek medical attention. Kirabo also says that most local health centers in the district neither offer TB screening services nor treatment. Edward Kavuma, a TB patient and resident of Kasana Market zone in Luweero town council says that he almost lost his life because the disease was detected late.

Kavuma says that he tested positive for TB in April 2012 and has been undergoing treatment at Kasana health center IV but the disease has persisted. He regrets his failure to seek early treatment, something he says has put his life at great danger. Kavuma advises other residents to take TB tests early enough and receive treatment. Joan Namugerwa, a resident of Makokonyigo village in Kamira Sub County says that in addition to limited access to TB treatment, they also lack adequate information on the disease. She wants Luweero district to decentralize TB screening centers as well as conduct sensitization camps for residents of specific days.

Luyombya Bwogi, the The Luweero district Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Supervisor explains that they have rejuvenated Village Health teams to help collect samples from villages for screening at selected 25 health centers. He says that the teams will also be mandates to disseminate information about the disease to residents.

The 2010 Global World Health Organisation Report ranked Uganda 16th among the 22 TB high burden countries. It is estimated that about 60% of the TB patients are co-infected with HIV/AIDS. According to ministry of health at least 27,900 people die from TB in Uganda annually.

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