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New treatment to reduce period of TB treatment

By Admin

Added 28th June 2016 10:53 AM

The TB burden can be worsened by the weakening of the immune system, for example in people living with HIV or those in advanced ages.

New treatment to reduce period of TB treatment

The TB burden can be worsened by the weakening of the immune system, for example in people living with HIV or those in advanced ages.

By Deborah Nassanga

TB patients in Uganda could soon have another lifeline after WHO released new international guidelines with the view of reducing the cost and time for treating multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

Currently, it takes a TB patient 24 months to complete a dose of treatment. However, with the new treatment regimen, it will take nine months. The health agency should reduce treatment to around nine months. Existing treatment methods can involve up to thousands of pills and daily injections. Side effects include deafness and damage to kidney, liver and lungs.

Dr. Frank Mugabe, the head of the National TB and Leprosy Program (NTLP) in Uganda says, ‘this will be good news to Ugandans suffering from this disease'.

"It is true that MDR-TB drugs are currently in the country. However, they are very expensive. A six-month dose for a patient can be over sh50m or more". That excludes other costs for example laboratory tests, which a patient will undergo every month. Each test costs sh40, 000 in private medical facilities," he says.

The TB burden can be worsened by the weakening of the immune system, for example in people living with HIV or those in advanced ages.

He says with the collaboration of our partners such as the Global Fund, United States Government and other organizations, there is hope for progress; especially to reduce the side-effects. This includes checking of blood pressure, monitoring reactivity of the body organs to the drugs like the liver, kidneys and this will check the effectiveness of the drugs.

Steven Kakembo, a TB patient at Namirembe Hospital says: "I spent over sh200, 000 for one dose in the first month. It's so painful, and to top it all off, there are other expenses involved like healthy foods that are highly recommended for TB patients."

Mugabe says: "Foods which include fruit juices that are rich in antioxidants and vitamin are important. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help the body in its fight against the tuberculosis bacillus. This means spending a lot of money on buying the fruits if they are to be part of the treatment regimen."

According to WHO, over 4,500 people died of TB in the last five years and the TB prevalence is about 60,000. Between 2007 and 2014, TB death toll was 14,000.

 

 

 

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