On Friday March 24, 2017, Uganda joined the rest of the world in commemorating World TB Day under the theme Unite to End TB. According to the 2015 Uganda National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey, Uganda has an annual prevalence of 253 per 100,000 persons, over 90,000 tuberculosis cases every year. However, the 2016 Global Tuberculosis Report found that only 43,736 TB cases (49%) were identified in Uganda in 2015. Based on this information, Uganda selected the slogan “Find the Missing TB patients” for this year’s campaign.
In commemoration of the day, TB survivors, community members, health providers, implementing partners, government officials and other stakeholders attended an event in the eastern part of the Uganda (Tororo district). It was presided over by the Minister of State Hon. Sarah Opendi who emphasized the need to promptly and comprehensively identify unknown tuberculosis cases by working within existing district and community structures. All attending parties were re-committed to unite to end TB in Uganda.
Hon. Minister Sarah Opendi (left) interacts with URC staff in exhibition hall during World TB Day event
USAID’s Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) and Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in East Central Uganda (RHITES-EC) projects (both implemented by University Research Co., LLC) supported regional healthcare workers to showcase their hospitals’ TB activities and offer services to the event participants.
The projects set up a TB consultation clinic at their exhibition tent where clinicians from supported facilities attended to people’s needs and questions. The clinic was the busiest place during the day, receiving many different types of clientele including the elderly, young and pregnant women who expressed an unmet need for TB assessment and sensitization services. Some of the patients who had suspected signs of TB were given referrals to see doctors at various TB service points in the region. Approximately 120 people accessed health education and TB assessment services at the event.
A healthcare worker interacts with a client at the consultation table
“I have been feeling chest pain for now two months but I have never gone to the clinic. When the doctor talked about this sign, I felt I should sit and get examined if I am at risk of having TB. I came here purposely to access this service,” said Omita – an elderly man who came for the consultation services.
A healthcare worker sensitizing clients on TB
In addition to the consultation clinic, ten TB survivors who successfully completed treatment at USAID/SUSTAIN’s supported Mbale Regional Referral Hospital gave personal testimonies to community members to assure them that TB is curable. The survivors also held placards with different TB messages emphasizing early identification, reducing stigma and discrimination, and availability of treatment, among others.
A client holding a placard with one of the project's TB messages
Through both the USAID/SUSTAIN and RHITES-EC projects, URC works with the Uganda National TB and Leprosy Program to strengthen the capacity of supported public healthcare facilities to identify and treat TB and multi-drug resistant TB in Uganda.
Look at some of our project's materials for World TB Day 2017!