Men at higher risk of acquiring TB, Leprosy than Women

The number of men who are suffering from tuberculosis and leprosy in Uganda is higher than women. This was revealed in the TB and Leprosy stakeholders’ conference on Friday, at Imperial Resort Beach Hotel, Entebbe. 

Under the theme;  Advancing science, finance, and innovation for accelerated TB and Leprosy response to urgently end the TB epidemic and achieve zero leprosy in Uganda, the engagement was attended by a number of dignitaries including Members of Parliament on the health committee, civil society organizations, District Health Officers among other officials under the ministry of health.

According to Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga, a senior technical adviser in the ministry of health, 60% of the TB patients are men as compared to 40% who are women. 

“Men are more infected than women because they tend not to come in the facilities for treatment and they tend to gather together while watching football and drinking. So, as we know TB is transmitted through droplets, where many people are, there are more chances of getting TB in case there is a patient with the disease,” he explained. 

In addition, Dr. Byaruhanga expounded that women tend to go to hospitals and take their children for checkups and treatment, quite often. He appealed to men, also to do the same so that the two diseases are kicked out of the country by 2030. 

He also noted that leprosy is still in the country since the early years and cases still exist mainly in West Nile, Busoga region, Tororo region, and Kasese. 

Veronica Nanyondo, the Bukomansimbi district woman member of parliament said that most people think that TB only attacks people with Aids, “which is wrong, since according to the research, a bigger number of patients are negative of HIV/Aids.” 

“As a parliament, we want to create awareness and put more funding on such diseases like the way we did with Covid-19 so that we have a free TB and leprosy country by 2030,” she remarked.

Nanyondo thus, urged the public to be cautious about such kind of diseases so that every Ugandan lives a happy and healthy life. 

Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers and a growing challenge in Uganda with each day, close to 240 people falling ill with TB and approximately 30 losing their lives.  More than half of TB-related deaths are among people living with HIV, yet it is preventable and curable.

Uganda is one of the world’s thirty (30) high-burden countries for TB and TB/HIV co-infection. Each year, approximately 91,000 people in Uganda get sick of TB with 32% of them being HIV-infected. Two out of every 100 people with TB have drug-resistant TB that is not cured by first-line drugs, while approximately 15% of TB cases in Uganda are children aged below 14 years. 

After the introduction of MDT, the registered number of leprosy patients decreased substantially, from more than five million in the 1980s to 133,802 cases in 2021 with a prevalence of 16.9 per million population.

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Johnmary Luwaga

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