Ministry of Health is seeking for 1.3 billion shillings to set up tuberculosis (TB) isolation wards

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The Ministry of Health is seeking for about 1.3 billion shillings to set up tuberculosis (TB) isolation wards in five districts and regional referral hospitals.

The ministry requires the money to facilitate the construction of isolation wards for treatment of multi drug-resistant (MDR) TB at Iganga district hospital; Jinja Regional Referral hospital; Moroto regional referral hospital, Matany hospital and Luzira Prison-Murchison Bay hospital.

Multidrug-resistant TB is a form of TB infection caused by bacteria resistant to treatment with first-line anti-TB drugs Isoniazid and Rifampicin.

According to Dr. Frank Mugabe, Program Manager National TB and Leprosy Program at the Ministry of Health, the funds will be used to build new wards for the TB patients, as well as purchase at least 10 beds and mattresses for each of the wards.

Dr. Mugabe says each ward will cost 250 million shillings.

The ministry says Arua, Fort Portal, Gulu, Hoima, Jinja, Kabale, Lira, Masaka, Mbale, Mbarara, Mubende and Soroti Regional Referral hospitals already have the TB isolation wards.

Uganda is 16th out of the 22 high burden countries with the highest number of TB cases in the world. Statistics from the ministry indicate that about 4,000 people die annually from the disease.

State Minister of Health, Sarah Achieng Opendi says the ministry wants to move away from using the old TB isolation centres, including Entebbe Tuberculosis Isolation Centre. She says more wards should be attached to hospitals to reduce on stigma of TB patients.

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