TRACK TB: Our Impact

{Photo Credit: Diana Tumuhairwe/MSH}Photo Credit: Diana Tumuhairwe/MSH

At six months pregnant, Angela Namatovu was excited. The pregnancy was going well, and she could not wait to give birth to her baby boy. Like any careful expectant mother, when she developed a cough, she knew that the right thing to do was seek medical attention. She went to a nearby local clinic in the Simbwe, Wakiso district in central Uganda, not thinking her symptom was anything serious. The health facility could not find anything wrong but still referred her to Mulago Hospital. There, she was asked for sputum samples and was also given medication for 10 days.

 {Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH}Flora Mugisa receives incentives (porridge and milk) from the hospital team during a home visit.Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH

As is the norm in the extended family support system in Uganda, Flora Mugisa helped care for her sister who was suffering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). A year later, Flora also fell sick. She lost her appetite, grew thin, and complained of a heavy chest with severe pain. “I could not sleep at all,” said Mugisa, 70. “I would cough throughout the night. My grandson knew that I would die anytime.”

 {Photo credit: Diana Tumuhairwe/MSH}Musingire Annania (right) has successfully battled TB with the help of Paul Sebale (left), his community linkage facilitator.Photo credit: Diana Tumuhairwe/MSH

This is the story of Musingire Anania, a 45-year-old, small-scale laundromat owner from the slums of Mulago in Kampala District, Uganda, who has successfully battled tuberculosis (TB) through the dedicated efforts of his community linkage facilitator, Mr. Paul Sebale, and an example of how community linkages can help a TB patient at the brink of death to start and complete treatment and be fully cured.

 {Photo credit:  Diana Sharone Tumuhairwe} MDR-TB patients receiving continuous health education at Lira hospital.Photo credit: Diana Sharone Tumuhairwe

Although the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in Uganda is declining, multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB), a strain of TB that cannot be treated with the two most powerful first-line medicines, is a growing concern. This is especially true in Uganda’s Lira district, a commercial hub in the Northern region.

 {Photo credit: Deus Lukoye/MSH.}Abraham Luutu after TB treatment.Photo credit: Deus Lukoye/MSH.

Tuberculosis (TB) is curable when detected and treated. But many people do not know they have TB. And patients who are diagnosed, often experience debilitating side effects from the medicine (such as nausea and loss of appetite) that lead to malnutrition, poor treatment adherence, and prolonged illness.

 {Photo credit: Rita Tumuhairwe/MSH.}Nile Breweries donated 36 cases of water to TRACK TB-supported hospitals. Purified water helps TB patients stay hydrated during treatment. Photo credit: Rita Tumuhairwe/MSH.

Nagayi Efrance became infected with tuberculosis (TB) in 2012. Although she attended local health facilities for treatment, the TB medicine did not heal her and often left her feeling nauseated and unable to eat. When Nagayi tried to take the TB medicine on an empty stomach, she felt even worse. Eventually, she stopped taking treatment and developed multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB), a strain of TB that cannot be treated by first-line anti-TB medicines.

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