Uganda Ministry of Health Launches 100 Day Plan to Scale up Tuberculosis Treatment among People Living with HIV/AIDSJustus Ashaba
Kampala – 03 July 2019- Approximately 300,000 People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) will be initiated on Tuberculosis Preventive Treatment in July 2019. This was revealed during the launch of the 100 day accelerated Isoniazid Preventive Therapy (IPT) scale up plan in Kampala.
While launching this accelerated plan, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said that Uganda has borne disproportionate burdens of HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) over the years. Dr Aceng highlighted that the number of new HIV infections were estimated at 53,000 in 2018 compared to 130,000 in 2010. There was a decline in AIDS related deaths from 60,000 in 2010 to 26,000 in 2018.
“Our statistics indicate that annually 83,000 cases of TB occur, but only 50 percent of them are diagnosed and started on treatment” Dr Aceng noted. “For the HIV epidemic, the Ministry of Health and partners, have over time implemented HIV prevention and treatment interventions that have resulted in significant epidemic contraction in the last five years” she added, however “these achievements contrasts with the big burden of TB that continues to be reported in the country.”
The launch took place in three-fold aiming to raise awareness in preventing the two epidemics; HIV and Tuberculosis in Uganda, implementation of evidence based interventions to control the two epidemics and mobilization of key stakeholders.
According to the global 2018 UNAIDS report, 32% of AIDS related deaths were a result of Tuberculosis. Justifying the need for TPT, Dr Aceng pointed out that “these needless deaths can be prevented using a low-cost medicine- isoniazid, that lowers the risk of suffering from TB by up to 60% among people living with HIV.”
She further said that Isoniazid Preventive Treatment has been shown to work synergistically with anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to reduce the incidence of TB among PLHIV. “For the prevention of tuberculosis among PLHIV, we are therefore prioritizing the scale up of Isoniazide prophylaxis” she said.
The overall goal of the 100-Day Accelerated IPT Scale Up Plan is to Enroll 300,000 PLHIV on isoniazid preventive therapy, scale up IPT initiation of children living with HIV and under-5 TB contacts at 1,947 AntiRetroviral Therapy (ART) sites and ensure 100% completion by 30th September 2019.
Specifically, the plan will mobilize a DHO- led multi-stakeholder engagement for accelerated IPT implementation and increased accountability, enhance IPT completion rates to 100% of individuals that initiated on IPT in the quarters of October to December 2018, and January-February 2019. Furthermore, the plan will enhance systems for IPT delivery, monitoring and reporting of IPT outcomes.
The US Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac lauded Government of Uganda for launching an ambitious plan and moving in the right direction. “Great achievements needs ambitious plans and Uganda has a good record in achieving high targets” she noted.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam called for improved collaboration across health programs for harmonized and integrated policies and service delivery. He noted that this will help in achieving prevention, timely diagnosis and treatment of TB among PLHIV.
Dr Tegegn, however said that “unless HIV programs scale up interventions to close these gaps in prevention, diagnosis and treatment, we will not meet our common targets – we cannot reduce HIV mortality without addressing the main cause: TB.”
The Permanent Secretary, Dr Diana Atwine said “in last two weeks prior to the launch we have noted exponential increase from as low as 4000-5000 per week to over 10000 PLHIV on IPT in the last week. This is a sign that it is possible to reach all our PLHIV and children under 5 years of age who are contacts of TB patients with this life saving intervention.” Dr Atwine appealed to all District Health Officers (DHOs) to take lead and ensure all PLHIV and contacts of TB patients start on the preventive therapy.
The Government of Uganda continues to scale up of combination HIV prevention interventions including structural, behavioural and biomedical interventions. The Ministry of Health is implementing a public health response focusing on the Fast Track interventions for epidemic control by 2020 and ending AIDS by 2030. Similarly, for Tuberculosis, Ministry of Health focuses on TB prevention interventions as well as intensified case finding and treatment.
Original Post appeared on MOH Website