Uganda achieves Tuberculosis target ahead of MDGs deadline

By: Agatha Ayebazibwe

Kampala: Less than a year to the UN Millennium Development Goals 2015 deadline, Uganda has hit the target of the MDG 6 – halving the number of people dying due to Tuberculosis (TB).

According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda has reduced the number of people dying due to TB in the last 12 years from 9,900 in 1990 to 4,700 in 2012 – meeting one of the MDG 6’s targets to combat HIV/Aids, Malaria and other infectious diseases including TB by 2015.

The Global Tuberculosis Report 2013 report shows that Uganda is one of the seven countries out of the 22 high-Tuberculosis-burden countries that have met MDG target.

“The number of Ugandans estimated to have Tuberculosis at any given time has reduced tremendously from 88,560 to 64,000 respectively while at the same time, the population has doubled, to approximately 36 million in 2013,” said a Ministry of Health statement.

The achievement has been attributed to the strategic roll out of TB diagnosis to more than 1,000 hospitals and health centres countrywide.

“While Uganda has achieved the MDG targets, significant challenges remain such as [the] emergence of drug-resistant TB, a very high TB/HIV co-infection, need for better access to TB diagnostic facilities and increased access and use utilisation of innovative diagnostic tools such as the GeneXpert machines,” the statement read in part.

According to the MDGs 2013 report, Uganda has met only two of its 17 MDG targets – halving the number of people living in absolute poverty and achieving debt sustainability with less than 360 days to the deadline. The report shows that there are a number of areas where progress remains slow, has stagnated or has experienced a reversal.

“Trends in maternal mortality and HIV/Aids are particularly worrying,” the report says.

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund report released last year indicated that Uganda will only be able to achieve two MDGs –halving poverty and promoting gender equality and empowering women. But with the TB achievement, Uganda will likely meet three of the 18 targets.

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