A lack of advocacy, communication and social mobilization programs are hindering Uganda's efforts to fight tuberculosis, National Leprosy and TB program manager Francis Adatu said recently, Uganda's Monitor reports.
According to Adatu, there are "few partners in the TB response to play an active advocacy role" in fighting the disease, adding that advocacy is "needed to influence the decision makers" at international, national and regional levels. Adatu said that many local governments in Uganda do not have the resources to budget for advocacy programs aimed at providing TB education and treatment, adding "that is why we have been very slow in moving toward achieving" World Health Organization TB targets.
A lack of efforts to educate health workers on properly diagnosing and treating TB also are contributing to Uganda's difficulties in addressing the disease, the Monitor reports. In addition, many people with TB do not seek testing or treatment because they are concerned about stigma or unfriendly service at public health centers, which is limiting the country's ability to fight TB. According to the Monitor, Uganda plans to use anticipated grants from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to increase advocacy and mobilization efforts over the next five years.
Uganda has a TB incidence of 152 cases per 100,000 people, and 30% of TB patients in the country are on DOTS. The country has a TB detection rate of 50.2%, below the WHO target of 70%, and a TB treatment success rate of 69%, compared with the WHO target of 85%, according to the Monitor (Kirunda, Monitor, 10/1).