From the Ground Up: Building a Drug-Resistant TB Program in Uganda
Uganda is one of the world’s 22 high burden countries for tuberculosis (TB). Despite having a national treatment program for drug-sensitive TB, there has been an emergence of drug-resistant strains of the disease, which are presenting a new and urgent threat to people’s health. So far in Uganda, 226 cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) have been confirmed, spread across 40 districts, but the true figure is likely to be much higher.
The best way to stop the disease from spreading is to start patients on treatment early. Aware of the urgency of the problem, the Ugandan government is taking steps to start treating DR-TB. Funding for DR-TB drugs is on its way, the drug order has been placed, and the government is planning a 40-bed ward for DR-TB patients in Mulago hospital in Kampala.
MSF firmly believes that a feasible model of care already exists in the Ugandan context. Since 2009, MSF has been running a community-based and comprehensive TB treatment program in Kitgum, in northern Uganda, hand in hand with the Ministry of Health.
Photo: Uganda 2011 © Andrea Stultiens
MDR-TB patient Oyella Mercy’s family in Kitgum