By Gloria Nakajubi and Violet Nabatanzi
THE burden of Tuberculosis cannot be underestimated in the country especially with the increasing number of multi-drug resistant TB cases being registered.
It is with such background that Ministry of Health with funding worth $3m (about sh7.5b) from Global Fund is to roll out a 2 year study that will establish the actual statistics of the disease burden in the country after relying on estimates previously.
The study that will be implemented by Makerere University School of Health Sciences is targeting 40,000 participants in 57 districts across the country.
Speaking during the handover ceremony at the School’s facility in Kololo, State Minister for Health, Elioda Tumwesigye noted that previous TB burden statistics were based on WHO mathematical modelling estimates which do not accurately represent the actual statistics on the ground.
State Minister for Health Elioda Tumwesigye, World Health Organisation Representative Wondimagegnehu Alemu listen to the Dean of School of Public Health William Bazeyo (left) during the hand over 6 vehicles and equipment for the Tuberculosis. Extreme right is Doctor Alex Opio. Photo by Wilfred Sanya
As Professor William Bazeyo, Dean School of Public Health explains, this is going to be the first representative survey carried out on TB in the country and Makerere taking the lead will not only boost the institutions research capacity but also lay foundation for further research initiatives.
Professor David Sserwadda, the chairperson of the project explained that the study will target people between the ages of 15 years and above. This will involve TB screening, x-ray tests and other microbial studies starting August this year.
The survey is also expected to confirm reports that listed Uganda as one of the seven countries out of the 22 high burden countries to have met all Millennium Development Goals targets (MDG) for TB which were largely based on estimates from Ministry of Health and WHO.
Among the equipment handed over were six Nissan pick-up trucks, four portable x-ray machines and accessories, seven generators, five laptops, three computer desktops and two printers.