Uganda: Health Ministry Orders Mandatory TB Testing

Inmates at Pece Prisons in Uganda's Gulu District (file photo).

Moroto — Government has directed public health facilities across the country to conduct mandatory tuberculosis (TB) testing to fight the disease.

Dr Charles Olaro, who represented Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director General of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, made the announcement on Friday during the launch of the TB free project organised by Doctors with Africa CUUAM, an Italian organisation, in Moroto District.

He said 14,000 deaths were recorded in the country last year as a result of tuberculosis.

Dr Olaro also said 40 per cent of people living with HIV/Aids in the country do not know that they have TB.

Dr Stavia Turyahabwe, the assistant commissioner-in-charge of tuberculosis control in the Ministry of Health, urged leaders in Karamoja Sub-region to carry out sensitisation programmes.

"When we educate our people what TB is all about and how it spreads, we shall manage the fight against TB in Karamoja and as a country," she said.

In February, the Health ministry permanent secretary, Dr Diana Atwine, blamed the increasing cases of tuberculosis in the country on failure by patients to seek proper treatment.

"Although we now have facilities at all general hospitals that can be used to test TB in the blood, many people with the disease use antibiotics to treat it. This has caused TB resistance to drugs used to treat the disease," she said.

According to statistics at the Ministry of Health, TB prevalence in Uganda last year stood at 253 per 100,000 people.

World Health Organisation defines TB as a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the tummy (abdomen) glands, bones and nervous system.

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