- If patients are not engaged, unaware and if they do not trust us and do not believe in the quality of care we provide, then we might not see them, and that is why we must promote the communities and ensure availability of quality service assessed by the patients.
Stakeholders engaged in the fight against Tuberculosis and Leprosy are being urged to prioritize the strengthening of health systems in a bid to end the TB epidemic and achieve zero leprosy in Uganda.
This is according to Dr. Mustapha Gidado, in his key note address during the 6th TB and Leprosy conference held under the theme, “advancing Science, Finance and Innovation for accelerated TB and Leprosy response to urgently end the TB epidemic and achieve zero leprosy in Uganda.”
“Functionality of Health Care facilities is a pillar for success of all the diseases we are dealing with including Tuberculosis and Leprosy and therefore we must take Health Systems Strengthening serious.”
“That is also related to all the community structures we build, if you look at it from a business perspective, there is no reason to run a business if you have no customers and the customers in our business is the effective utilization of the healthcare facility by the communities,” he says.
“If they are not engaged, unaware and if they do not trust us and do not believe in the quality of care we provide, then we might not see them, and that is why the true arm must go hand in hand; promote the communities and ensure availability of quality service assessed by the client,” Mustapha remarked.
Relatedly, Health Minister Dr. Ruth Aceng has urged health workers and patients to collaborate in order to reduce the infection rates of Tuberculosis after it emerged that health personnel were transmitters of the disease as Uganda continues to face the burden of multi-drug resistant TB which is treatable.
“I want to appeal to both the health workers and the patients to see to it that patients adhere to their treatment so that we can protect one another since it is treatable. We have adequate drugs for every one as well as diagnostic equipment cover everyone in Uganda,” says Aceng.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lydia Buzalirwa , Director of Quality Management and Medical Logistics at AHF Uganda Cares, an organization that provides a multitude of services, including free anti retroviral therapy and regular HIV testing has decried the tendency by patients to reject treatment on account of stigma.
“what we are doing as players in the field is to motivate for beyond diagnostic, beyond treatment to also expanding and scale up of TB preventive therapy more so access and availability of the shorter TB preventive therapy that takes a much shorter time, has less side effects and is easier to take,” Buzalirwa notes.
91,000 Ugandans get infected with TB annually with an estimated 15,600 annual deaths and this year it was among the top ten causes of institutional deaths in the health sector, according to the Health Ministry and have successfully treated over 90% of notified cases.