Bleak future for Uganda’s TB patients
Treatment for Tuberculosis drug is a demanding task that requires strict adherence to the medicine without skipping it. However, TB patients at Nebbi Hospital are living with unease after the medical facility ran out of needed drugs for the ailment.
The patients have now resorted to walking long distances to access the TB drugs in other health centres. Those who can afford, have been buying the medicine from private clinics to avoid skipping the dose. According to statistics compiled for the past three months, 68 per cent of TB patients who are supposed to be on drugs are not getting it.
A TB patient, who asked not to be named for fear of stigmatisation, said he had to sell his two goats to obtain the needed money for buying the drugs. “If you skip, you have to start afresh and I cannot afford to do that because I was remaining with five days [to complete the dose]. So I had to sell my goats to buy the drugs,” he said.
The district Tuberculosis and Leprosy Supervisor, Mr Mario Drasiku, said the only TB drugs available in the hospital is for new and continuation phases, but re-treatment drugs such as streptomycin is lacking.
“We are forced to refer TB patients for treatment in other health units of Angal Hospital, Wadelai Health Centre III and Goli Health Centre III. This is costly as they are far and with poor transport facilities,” he said.
Mr Drasiku said the TB department in Nebbi Hospital also has inadequate human resource to provide adequate services. However, the District Health Officer, Dr Jakor Oryema, said TB clients are so many in Nebbi Hospital that is why there is shortage of drugs. He cited Wadelai Health Centre III which he says serves three neighbouring districts of Amuru, Nwoya and some parts of Arua.
Dr Oryema added that some TB patients also have symptoms of Aids and need to be screened for HIV before they can be put on medication.
By Patrick Okaba, Daily Monitor
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