Fight against tuberculosis in Wakiso suffers blow as donor slash funds

Fight against tuberculosis in Wakiso suffers blow as donor slash funds
A Tuberculosis (TB) patient waits for treatment at Mulago Hospital. COURTESY PHOTO/Edward Echwalu

Wakiso, Uganda | URN | Wakiso District Health authorities are predicting trouble time in the fight against Tuberculosis (TB) as leading implementing partners are limit their activities and slash funding.

Tuberculosis (TB), which is a serious infectious disease that mainly affects your lungs, has been a major public health problem in Wakiso with a high disease burden.

The situation has been improving since 2017 due to help from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Defeat TB project, implemented by University Research Company (URC).

The project was aimed at increasing TB case notification, detection and treatment outcomes through health system strengthening, towards ending the TB epidemic.

Now, Cyrus Ntudhu, an officer under Defeat TB Project, says the project funders have since indicated changes into cash flow towards some activities including training, support supervision, community sensitisation, transport for outreaches and the community link programmes among others.

Ntudhu says the development is part of broad funding changes that were declared by the local development partners’ group in Uganda to let the government take its responsibility of facilitating health workers in the fight against HIV/AIDs and TB.

The defeat TB project has been receiving over Shillings 300 million per month (Shilling 3.6 billion per year) to cater for the said activities.

Ntudhu says since the activates are supreme in the fight against TB, district authorities should look for alternative funding.

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“We have already notified them (Wakiso District). And now it is upon them to look into their budget and secure this money. TB in Wakiso is a serious issue, which shouldn’t be neglected simply because donors are reducing on the funding,” says Ntudhu.

Dr Mathias Lugoloobi, the Wakiso District Health Officer, says the development is a blow in the battle to defeat TB as the district cannot has no other source of such huge sums of money given the fact that the declaration came mid-way of financial year.

Dr Lugoloobi says the project with core objective of increasing, screening and detection of all forms of Tuberculosis had built a strong community system to support the continuum of TB prevention, screening, diagnosis, care, and treatment.

He says that only in the last three months 759 case were identified using the outreach programme.

He however, observes that since partners are still funding research, drugs and treatment, the district will have to look for means of bridging the funding gap in the near future.