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The Union launches project to improve TB preventive treatment in Uganda

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A research project has been launched to explore how tuberculosis (TB) preventive treatment can be improved for people living with HIV, including children living with HIV, in Uganda.

The project is being implemented at 12 health facilities across four regions, including: Hoima, Kampala, Masaka and Mubende. The aim is to evaluate TB care, treatment and management and identify areas for improvement.

The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) is leading the project in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with support from the National TB Program and the AIDS Control Program, Ministry of Health Uganda.

The project is focusing on assessing the process of delivering TB preventive treatment (TPT), with an initial emphasis on people and children living with HIV. The results and lessons learned will help identify approaches to improve and strengthen the initiation, adherence and completion of the treatment for all people and children living with HIV in Uganda.

People and children living with HIV are at an increased risk of developing active TB (a situation when people become ill and can spread TB disease to others) because of their low immunity. Therefore, the World Health Organization recommends that TB preventive treatment (TPT) is used as a safe and effective method for stopping TB infection from developing into TB disease. However, only 19% of people eligible for TB preventive treatment start and complete the treatment globally.

In Uganda, 580,216 of people living with HIV (about 50%) were initiated on TPT between January 2015 and September 2019.

John Paul Dongo, Director of The Union Uganda Office, said: “People living with HIV and young children are extremely vulnerable to tuberculosis, so it’s vital that we identify the best ways to protect them from such a deadly infectious disease.

“It’s great to be working so closely with the Ministry of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other local partners. This means we can make a real difference to the lives of people in Uganda.”

The Union has trained healthcare workers on the implementation of TPT and documentation of TPT-associated data, as well as improving overall data quality and its local analysis and use for decision-making.

The health facilities implementing this project include:

  • Kisenyi HC IV
  • Kitebi HC III
  • Mildmay Uganda Hospital
  • Kisubi Hospital
  • Hoima Regional Referral Hospital
  • Kakumiro HC IV
  • Mityana Hospital
  • Villa Maria Hospital
  • Kakuuto HC IV
  • Kalisizo Hospital
  • St. Joseph Kitovu Hospital
  • TASO Masaka Clinic (In Masaka Regional Referral Hospital)

The project is titled ‘Evaluation of Adherence, Completion, Events for Tuberculosis Preventive Treatment (ACE TPT) among PLHIV, including CLHIV, in Uganda’ and will conclude in 2024.

National TB Program staff and partners taking part in a field visit