By Hudson Apunyo
The number of cases of Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) is worrying health workers in Lira Regional Referral Hospital (LRRH) with up to three cases recorded quarterly.
Sr. Alul Christine Okodi, a TB care nurse and MDR TB focal person expressed this concern while briefing reporters on Thursday during MDR TB patient satellite camp at LRRH.
MDR-TB is rapidly on the rise globally and the cases need different antibiotics and are more difficult to treat owing to higher costs of drugs and longer regimens, according to WHO.
“In LRRH there are 12 patients who are drug resistant including two prisoners from Lira Prison.
There are 38 identified cases on treatment in Lango and there could be many in the community who are not identified,” Mrs. Alul stated.
Sr. Alul Christine Okodi, a TB care Nurse and MDR TB focal person talking to reporters at Lira Regional Referral Hospital.PHOTO/ Hudson Apunyo
MDR TB is very infectious and treatment takes two years unlike susceptible TB which takes eight months to treat.
Patients who had treatment for susceptible TB for last eight months but are not cured are considered to be having MDR TB.
The sputum is always taken and when gene expert declare them resistance to rifampicin (RIF), further screening is done in Kampala (culture and sensitivity).
When the result comes back (positive), Alul said, they are started on six month daily injection while monitoring their sputum, then they remain on tablets for 18 months.
Causes of MDR TB
There are those who are unfortunate and there are those who default on taking their drugs as directed.
Others start treatment and they default and if they start on the same drug, there is possibility of drug resistance.
Information from Ministry of Health indicate that Tuberculosis remains a major public health problem in Uganda with an annual incidence of 330 cases of all forms and 136 new smear positive cases per 100,000 people per year.
The expected case load per year is 102,000 (WHO 2010 Global Report).
Uganda like most of Sub-Saharan Africa is battling with the dual Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS epidemic.
It is estimated that about 60% of the TB patients are co-infected with HIV/AIDS.
This dual epidemic has resulted in a fourfold increase in the notification numbers of TB cases in the region.
Furthermore TB stands as the number one killer of HIV/AIDS patients.
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Drug resistant TB hit Lango region