Medical personnel have noted with concern that there are now more Ugandans living with Tuberculosis than the HIV burden a new report reveals.
Civil Society Organisations have placed the blame on the Ministry of Health for not aggressively implementing the tobacco legislation as this would greatly reduce the number of those presenting with tuberculosis.
According to the 2014-2016 population-based tuberculosis prevalence survey, 89,000 Ugandans get infected with tuberculosis every year, surpassing the 50,000 who contract HIV annually.
The Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng reports “TB is a leading cause of death for people living with HIV responsible for over 30% of all death. Many people with TB do not know they have it and about 40% of those with TB symptoms do not go to the health facility for treatment.”
The report further adds that disease burden has greatly affected the income levels of those affected, with households spending 20% of their annual income trying to seek TB services.
Richard Baguma, a representative of CSOs on the National Tobacco Control Committee, argues that the losses made to TB treatment would be reduced or eliminated if more efforts are directed towards the tobacco fight.
He says that a big percentage of tuberculosis patients are from active consumers or cross infection.
Baguma argues that while a few districts are effecting the just passed Tobacco legislation, the tobacco industry has new measures which even kill faster than just chewing tobacco.
He explains that the new electronic cigarette which has become as popular as shisha only increases TB spread. He urges the government to tackle the lies of the tobacco industry.
The ministry of health says that most people with TB in Uganda are between 25 and 65 years of age.
He asks stakeholders not to be blinded by the short term revenue gains. He says while Uganda gets about $80 million out of tobacco, it ends up spending $330million in treatment of the effects of tobacco. This is four times the revenue enjoyed from sale of tobacco products.
Ending TB in Uganda means only 10 or fewer people developing TB for every 100,000 Ugandans. Currently we have 201 TB cases per 100,000 (86,000) people developing TB disease in this country every year.
Uganda joined the rest of the world to mark the Tuberculosis Day with celebrations in Ruhama under the theme, “It is time for Uganda to End TB” and slogan “It starts with me.”