Omoro district recently embarked on a one-week TB awareness campaign and collection of sputum samples from the community ahead of today’s World TB day. The theme this year for World TB Day is ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives.’
Venancio Okello, the Omoro District Health Educator says health Workers in the various Sub-counties collected more than 2,000 sputum samples during the campaign but the majority of samples are yet to be tested for TB.
Okello says only 165 samples have been tested for TB at Lalogi Health Center IV out of which four samples turned out positive for the bacterial infection. He notes that inadequate Genexpert machines for TB diagnosis have hindered speedy tests for samples collected.
Okello says they initially had three Genexpert Machines at Lalogi Health Center IV but two broke down leaving them with only one machine which is only able to run tests for three samples in one hour.
“Our biggest problem is the gene expert machine; we are unable to test samples as fast as we should have done. We appeal to any well-wisher to support us with new Genexpert machines to aid the testing of samples for TB,” He says.
He reveals that they have now resorted to taking some of the samples to neighboring facilities in Nwoya and Gulu city for testing.
Omoro District currently has 96 active cases of TB with 64 enrolled on treatment between October and December last year and another 34 cases between January and March this year.
In Gulu District, the prevalence of TB according to Health officials has slightly decreased in the last year.
William Onyai, the Gulu District Health Educator says that 228 people were enrolled on TB treatment by last year, slightly lower than the annual projection of 245.
He notes that 159 cases of TB were confirmed from Laboratory while 57 were diagnosed through clinical methods and two cases were Extra Pulmonary Tuberculosis found in body organs other than the lungs.
Onyai appeals to community members to visit health facilities for tests in case they are experiencing persistent cough, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss.
On the World TB days observed on March 24 annually, World Health Organization (WHO) called for an urgent investment of resources, support, care, and information into the fight against TB.
According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, urgent investments are needed to develop and expand access to the most innovative services and tools to prevent, detect and treat TB that could save millions of lives each year.
“These investments offer huge returns for countries and donors, in averted health care costs and increased productivity,” said Dr. Ghebreyesus in a statement released by WHO Monday.
TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers according to WHO. Each day, over 4 100 people lose their lives to TB, and close to 30, 000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease.
In Uganda, an estimated 88,000 people fell ill with TB, and an estimated 15,600 people died in 2019 alone.