Local initiatives SPARK-TB and TRACK-TB are working to overcome challenges of inadequate diagnostic equipment and access to quality life-saving tuberculosis (TB) treatment.
TB is a potentially-fatal but curable bacterial disease, which affects the lungs and is spread by inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. Through the Slum Partnerships to Actively Respond to Tuberculosis in Kampala (SPARK-TB), private for-profit clinics in the slums are branded with a bright yellow logo that indicates TB testing is offered on site.
Under its auspices, 208 clinics in Kampala and its surrounding districts have been equipped with machines, which enable rapid diagnosis of TB samples.
The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease works closely with these clinics, training their laboratory personnel, providing support supervision and quality-assured anti-TB medications, disseminating national TB guidelines, and providing tools for recording and reporting data.
“In order to increase demand for the services offered by the private clinics, health camps are organised once a month and these provide a platform to sensitize the community. Free TB screening and diagnosis, free HIV testing services and referrals are also offered,” said Dr Anna Nakanwagi, the director International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.
Owing to its success, the project is now in the process of expanding to 12 other major urban areas and is being integrated into the national TB strategy. On the other hand, TRACK-TB, funded by USAID and led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), is ensuring management and control of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in Lira district.
MDR-TB occurs when bacteria do not respond to, at least, Isoniazid and Rifampicin, the two most powerful, first-line or standard anti-TB drugs.
Since its inception in February 2014, TRACK TB trained staff of Lira regional referral hospital to ensure their ability to identify, screen, and treat MDR-TB patients.
TB IN UGANDA
The Global Tuberculosis Supplement report 2013 credits Uganda as one of the seven – out of 22 – high-burden countries that have met all the millennium development goals for TB.
The health ministry estimates Uganda has halved the number of people dying of the disease in the last 12 years from 9,900 in 1990 to 4,700 in 2012. The number of people estimated to have TB at any given time has also reduced from 88,650 to 64,000. Moreover, early detection and diagnosis have resulted into a 77 per cent treatment success rate.
Source : The Observer