HIV/AIDS Fueling Increase In TB Cases in Uganda

Armen Hareyan's picture

Uganda's HIV/AIDSepidemic is fueling the spread of tuberculosis in the country, Joseph Imoko,the World Health Organization country officer for TB, saidrecently, IRIN/PlusNews reports. The number of reported TBcases increased by almost 12% between 2001 and 2005, the Ugandan Ministry of Health reports. Imoko said that when HIV/AIDS becamemore prevalent in Uganda,health officials noticed a "rapid increase in the number of" TBcases. He noted that many people who have TB also are HIV-positive.

Imoko also said that the distance required to reach health centers is a mainchallenge in fighting TB in Uganda."When a person feels really sick, he or she will struggle to reach ahealth center no matter the distance, but when they feel a little better, thedistance to cover determines whether they continue with the treatment." Headded that many people do not continue taking medication when they feel better,even though they still might be contagious. In addition, inadequate healthinfrastructure, a lack of education about TB and insufficient sanitation arecontributing to the rise in TB cases, IRIN/PlusNews reports. Imokosaid most TB cases have been recorded in slums and camps for internallydisplaced persons, where overcrowding is common.

Uganda recently launched thethree-year, $3 million Tuberculosis Control Assistance Program, which is fundedby the U.S.and supports the health ministry's efforts to fight HIV/TB coinfection, Imokosaid. The program is under way in 12 districts in the central, western, easternand southwestern regions. The health ministry uses DOTS in an effort to ensurethat people with TB adhere to treatment regimens, Imoko said (IRIN/PlusNews,1/22).

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