IDI Participates in World TB & Leprosy day celebrations in Arua district.

On a hot sunny Saturday morning on March 24, 2018, district officials and implementing partners in Arua district kicked off the celebrations commemorating World Tuberculosis & Leprosy day with a five kilometer run and thereafter converged at Booma grounds. Opening remarks were made by the Deputy mayor of Arua Kalusum Abdul who welcomed all stakeholders and partners with special thanks to the guest of honor Honorable Sarah Opendi, the State Minister for Health and General Duties.

In her speech, Hon. Opendi re-echoed Uganda’s commitment to ending TB by 2030. She emphasized the message on TB treatment that encourages patients who have been coughing for over two weeks without any change to visit a health center. Hon. Opendi also highlighted the launch of a shorter treatment regimen for Multi drug resistant TB that will last nine months and encouraged all those who tested positive for HIV to get tested for TB. She then moved on to inspect partner stalls.

“I want to encourage all those who tested positive for HIV to get tested for TB because, TB remains the single highest killer of those infected with HIV”, “TB treatment is free!”.  said Hon. Opendi.

Dr. Patrick Y. Anguzu the District Health Officer of Arua in his speech highlighted TB treatment provision in his district where 47 [minus Refugee health posts] health facilities provide TB treatment services. He attributed Arua’s consistent attainment of TB district targets to the district hub system and diagnostic services as well as a commitment to community sensitization through talk shows.

“We rely on the hub system to refer specimen from lower health facilities to bigger centres with hi-tech equipment” said Dr. Patrick.

Dr. Patrick thanked IDI for building the capacity of district health workers to manage TB cases within his district.

“IDI is one of our key partners and they have been very instrumental in managing TB cases. They have trained health workers in TB pediatric works, contact tracing etc.”

Leading up to World TB day, 24 outreaches were organized in eight of the West Nile districts where IDI works [Arua, Maracha, Nebbi, Pakwach, Zombo, Adjumani, Moyo, Yumbe, Koboko]. In total, 3498 people were screened, 1067 were presumed to have TB among which 1052 were tested for HIV. 23 tested positive and linked 22 immediately to care. 1058 samples were tested and 30 TB cases were diagnosed bacteriologically while 13 were clinically diagnosed totaling to 43 TB cases. Of the 43TB cases, one was found to have Multi drug resistant TB.

Other key stakeholders that were in attendance included: the minister of state for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Ms. Freedom Grace, implementing partners: Kampala City Council Authority, USAID DEFEAT TB project, CUAMM, Medical Teams International, UNHCR, IRC, OPM, Red Cross, World Vision, MSF Save the Children, CHC Obulamu and ARRH, Oxfam were also in attendance.