Multi-Drug Resistant TB on Increase in Uganda

September 6, 2013 9:33 am0 comments by:


Health experts, in Uganda, are warning of an increase, in cases of multi-drug resistance among patients suffering from tuberculosis.

The experts warn that first line multi-drug resistance is currently on the rise due to lack of adherence to the prescribed treatment.

The experts blame it on weaknesses in running, the TB treatment and failure by patients to adhere to the treatment, as prescribed by health professionals.

“We have a number of patients, who don’t complete the treatment, for example someone, who is supposed to take the drug for eight months, stops after taking for only three months and this results into drug resistance” explains Dr. Musa Odongo a Research Fellow, with TB Control Program in Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in eastern Uganda.

Odongo explains that the problem has been compounded, by failure by the health workers and relatives, to ensure that the patient adheres to taking the drug for the entire treatment period.

“As per the care and treatment of tuberculosis, medical workers are supposed to visit the patients from wherever they are undergoing treatment from, to counsel them on the treatment and also to observe whether they are adhering to taking the drugs, but this is not happening” Odongo says as a result the patients stop taking drugs and by the time they come back to the hospital, the disease has become resistant to first line treatments.

Odongo also explains that the cases of multi-drug resistance, is on the increase because of most of the lower health units, in the country suffer from persistent drug stakeouts which makes the patients to spend weeks without treatment.

Other problems identified in the treatment of tuberculosis include lack of specialized laboratories, that can detect tuberculosis and lack of food that forces some patients to abandon treatment because the drugs are supposed to be swallowed prior to meal time.

50-year-old Joshua Nambafu, a patient who is currently undergoing an eight month treatment at MbaleRegionalReferralHospital says the greatest challenge he is faced with is on what to eat.

“The doctors say that I should swallow the drugs fifteen minutes before the meal, but this is impossible because I’ am alone here and there’s nobody to cook for me, sometimes I spent the whole day without eating and as a result I don’t take the drugs” Nambafu says the hospital stopped providing food for the patients two month back.

Okello is one of the many TB patients who are at MbaleReferralHospital without caretakers and depend on fellow patients for food.

Tuberculosis is a common lethal infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria.

Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air

Statistics at MbaleRegionalReferralHospital in eastern Uganda indicates that up to 70% of people who test for HIV/AIDS have TB.

The Ugandan government is due to conduct a national study on TB treatment and care.


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