KAMPALA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- As the world commemorates World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on Sunday, Uganda's ministry of health said it is scaling up diagnosis and treatment to reduce the incidence in the east African country.
Jane Ruth Acieng, minister of health told reporters that the ministry aims at scaling down the TB incidence to 10 cases or fewer for every 100,000 people from the current 201 cases per 100,000 people developing the disease every year.
Aceng said this is in line with the global movement to ending TB by 2030.
According to ministry of health figures, TB is the leading cause of death for people living with HIV.
"Many people with TB do not know they have it and about 40 percent of those with TB symptoms do not go to the health facility for treatment," Aceng said.
The minister said to achieve the set target, government has put in place adequate infrastructure for diagnosis and treatment up to the village level.
"All diagnosis and treatment is provided free of charge. Last year we registered marked improvement in the number of people we detected with TB disease. About 64 percent of all new TB cases were diagnosed and started on treatment," Aceng said.
A recent ministry of health study shows that 53 percent of the households spend more than 20 percent of their annual income trying to seek TB services.
The study also indicated that "for those found with the disease who initiate treatment, only slightly above 70 percent complete the treatment and over 20 percent do not return to complete treatment."
Aceng said the ministry is reorganizing TB treatment centers to make them more patient centered and treatment customized to address some barriers patients may encounter.