Kabarole Health Centres Lacking TB Drugs

3060 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
The lack of TB drugs at health centres has forced patients to travel long distances to Fort Portal referral hospital.

Patients suffering from Tuberculosis in Kabarole district are finding it difficult to access drugs in several health centres in the district.
The health facilities where the TB drugs are available include Kibiito sub-health district and Fort Portal referral hospital. However the facilities are very far away, which makes it impossible for patients to access the drugs, which is putting their lives at risk. Some of the drugs the health centres lack include isoniazid, rifampicin and pyrazinamide.
According to statistics from the district health department, there are more than 500 people suffering from TB in the district.
David Mugume, a TB patient in Kichwamba says that for four months, he has been going to the referral hospital for drugs. He says that he sometimes misses the first line treatment, because he can’t afford transport costs to the referral hospital.
He says that failure to get treatment on time has caused his cough to get worse and is making it hard for him to breathe.
At Kichwamba health centre III, a notice has been placed at the entrance of the health centre referring TB patients for treatment drugs to the referral hospital.
Dr Steven Abigaba, the in-charge of Kichwamba Health Centre III, says that if the patients fail to get treatment, they run the risk of not responding to first line treatment and will be required to be on the second line of treatment.
Abigaba also says that during the second line of treatment, the patient has to receive injections for two months and also be hospitalized for two months, which places a heavier financial burden on the patients.
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Herbert Tumwine, the district tuberculosis/leprosy control supervisor, blames the in-charge of the health centres for not putting in requests to the National Medical Stores for TB drugs on time. He says that if they don't request for the drugs, the health department can't know whether they have the TB drugs or not.
The lack of drugs at the health centres has also led to congestion of patients at the TB Clinic at Fort Portal referral hospital. The clinic receives more than 60 TB patients every day.
Francis Byaruhanga, in-charge of the clinic, says that health centres should be provided with drugs because some of the patients are turned away becasue of congestion.
 An estimated 102,000 Ugandans become infected with TB annually, and about 50,000 cases have been diagnosed and are on treatment.
Uganda is ranked 16th on the UN World Health Organization's list of 22 high-burden countries that make up 80 percent of global TB cases.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.