Why Tuberculosis? Why Uganda?

    Despite being a curable and preventable infectious disease, TB continues to be one of the top leading causes of death worldwide. Early detection and proper treatment of active pulmonary TB are essential components of successful TB control and treatment. If left untreated, each person with active TB will infect on average 10-15 individuals every year. In addition, mistreatment and non-adherence could cause the development of Multi and Extensive Drug Resistant TB (XDR and MDR TB). Despite covering 100% of the population with TB treatment programs, Uganda’s case detection and treatment success are below WHO’s targets. Uganda is classified by the WHO as one of the 22 high-burden TB countries accounting for about 80% of all TB cases. This burden is further exacerbated by extreme poverty, malnutrition, and the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Moreover, Uganda’s “default rate” is the highest of any high burden country.

Mulago Hospital TB Wards
Kampala, Uganda

 Educating at-risk populations is a vital part of the prevention of TB infection, the early detection of the disease, and the successful completion of therapy thus preventing the development of MDR and XDR TB. The potential effects of obtaining basic information could prove exponential as these patients pass on the knowledge to other at-risk individuals who would look out for behavior that could place them at risk, seek help and alert others to do the same when noticing TB symptoms, and properly follow treatment when infected.

Ebola Awareness in Mulago Hospital
Kampala, Uganda

Uganda’s problem with infectious disease is not limited to TB and HIV. Most recently, an outbreak of Ebola, a rare and deadly infectious disease, was reported in Western Uganda. Days later, several patients were diagnosed with Ebola at Mulago Hospital, the site of our research project, some of whom have unfortunately died.