Iganga registers 77 TB deaths in two years

TB survivors speaking during TB advocacy engagement in Jinja. PHOTO/ TAUSI NAKATO 

What you need to know:

  • The hospital’s Senior Nursing Officer, Ms Phoebe Nangobi, attributed the high death rates to inadequate monitoring of patients while on treatment which, she said, leads to drug resistance and deaths

Data obtained from Iganga General Hospital over the past two years suggest that at least 77 Tuberculosis [TB] patients have died, with 33 cases being registered in the Financial Year 2019/2020, 40 cases in 2020/2021, and 4 cases by March of the 2021/ 2022 FY.

The hospital’s Senior Nursing Officer, Ms Phoebe Nangobi, attributed the high death rates to inadequate monitoring of patients while on treatment which, she said, leads to drug resistance and deaths.

According to Ms Nangobi, the hospital lacks inadequate space for isolation of patients which puts health workers and other patients at risk of infection.

“It is important that a special ward be constructed purposely to accommodate patients suffering from TB to reduce the infection rate,” she said.

She added: “We also find it difficult to monitor patients on treatment who come from distant places because of inadequate space to accommodate them.’’

The Busoga Sub-region TB and Leprosy supervisor, Mr Joseph Mukasa, said most patients die because they miss out on treatment due to the long distances they travel to access a facility.

The Iganga Resident District Commissioner, Mr Andrew Ntange, said most people suffering from TB are poor and the interventions to fight the disease are very few, adding that they have started mobilizing funds to construct a TB healthy Facility in Iganga.

Survivors speak out

Ms Levis Kembabazi said she survived TB after receiving 224 injections in four months.

“When I had TB, I had 39kgs and was given 224 injections within four months, including tablets which I swallowed daily. Within nine months treatment, I had gained 60kgs and currently don’t feel any pain,’’ she said.

Mr Sula Muwuma, another TB survivor, said he contracted the disease from his sister and was put on treatment for 18 months, including a daily injection for nine months.

“I first refused the treatment and hid from the doctors, but my condition deteriorated, I returned to the hospital, and I am currently free from TB,’’ he said.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, annually, Uganda registers 88,000 TB cases with a treatment success rate of 83 percent.

The Ministry has undertaken interventions both at community and facility levels, including mobilisation, sensitisation, outreaches, and delivery of drugs, albeit with limited success.

Data from the Ministry of Health further indicates that up to 240 Ugandans contract TB every day, and of these, 30 die.


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