Cultural Leaders Joins Fight to Eradicate TB in Lango

The cultural leadership in Lango has taken a proactive stance in the fight against the rampant Tuberculosis (TB) prevalence within the sub-region. Lango ranks second only to the Kampala Metropolitan area in terms of the highest burden of TB cases in the country.

Notably, between July and September 2020, the TB cases in the Lango sub-region stood at 98.8 percent, a figure that increased to 116.0 percent from October to December. The data reveals that out of every 100 TB cases reported in Uganda, 16 are concentrated in Northern Uganda, particularly across districts within the Lango sub-region.

This surge is attributed to localized transmission within the community, including cases of the Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB variant.  In a gathering focused on TB awareness and engagement, led by cultural leaders and organized by the Ministry of Health, discussions revolved around concerns such as the isolation of TB wards at healthcare facilities and the apprehension surrounding medication. These factors are causing patients to avoid seeking proper TB care.

In response, the leaders collectively decided to spearhead community-wide TB awareness initiatives through the established cultural structures. Their plan encompasses the identification of TB patients and ensuring their adherence to treatment regimens. During these discussions, resolutions in the Luo language were articulated:

Dr. Jane Aceng Ocero, the Health Minister and Lira City Woman MP, elaborated on the cultural leaders’ involvement as an integral facet of the Ministry’s Community Awareness, Screening, Testing, and Treatment (CAST) Campaign aimed at eradicating TB.

Dr. Aceng underscored that the nation is grappling with significant losses, primarily impacting young men aged between 15 and 54, due to TB-related complications.

She expressed hope in equipping cultural leaders with comprehensive information that can be disseminated to their respective communities, thereby motivating individuals to undergo TB testing. “….as a Ministry we are ready including mobile testing equipment where we can move door to door and take samples for TB and ensure that all who test positive are put on treatment,” she said.

Dr. Patrick Buchan Ocen, Lira District Health Officer (DHO), emphasized that the burden of TB in Lango could be mitigated by encouraging widespread testing and promptly enrolling those diagnosed positive in treatment plans.

He urged TB patients to steadfastly adhere to their treatment schedules to prevent the emergence of drug-resistant strains.

Uganda confronts a notably high TB prevalence, with approximately 90,000 diagnoses annually. Among these, 1,500 cases are classified as Multi-Drug Resistant TB. The Ministry of Health’s estimates indicate an unfortunate toll of 15,000 annual deaths due to this disease.

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