Ntungamo — The minister of State for Primary Healthcare, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, has called for more efforts in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).
Speaking during celebrations to mark World TB Day at Ruhaama Sub-county headquarters in Ntungamo District on Sunday, Dr Kaducu said the disease prevalence rate in the country is worrying.
She said the TB surveillance conducted between 2013 and 2015 put the prevalence rate at 253 per 100,000 people, adding that 8,6000 new TB cases were reported in 2017.
"Uganda remains among the 30 high burden HIV/ TB countries in the entire world. TB still causes significant mobility and mortality in the world, especially in our own country. It is really a concern for all of us," Dr Kaducu said.
The minister added that whereas TB kills 14,000 people every year in the country, there is significant progress in the fight against the disease, with at least 64 per cent of patients accessing drugs. This, she said, has reduced the incidence to 201 per 100,000 people.
"It is time for Uganda to end TB and the slogan is 'It Starts with Me'. This is possible with your support," Dr Kaducu said.
She said world political leaders recognise TB as a public health threat and speaking about it in international assemblies and national parliaments will contribute greatly to its elimination.
Ntungamo has the highest multi-drug resistant TB cases in the country, with at least 50 registered in the district every year.
Dr Edward Bitarakwate, the chief party of USAID- RHITES project, said Ntungamo has more TB cases than any other district in western Uganda. The district Woman MP, Ms Beatrice Rwakimari, said the increasing cases of drug resistant TB are due to poor adherence to treatment, with many patients not minding about finishing the drug dosage.
"This is a disease that can be reduced and eradicated if we follow all the steps as patients," Ms Rwakimari said.
Former Rukungiri Woman MP Winfred Masiko, who represented the Parliamentary Forum on Tuberculosis, asked government to honour its commitment to fight TB. She said government needs to equip hospitals with drugs, recruit more staff and provide the necessary support to health workers.