New drug reduces TB treatment by 1 year


Kampala. Patients suffering from multi-drug tuberculosis will be on treatment for only nine months and not nearly two years as it has been, the Ministry of Health has said.
Dr Stavia Turyahabwe, the acting assistant commissioner in-charge of national tuberculosis and leprosy, said a combination of new drugs has made it possible for the latest development.
“We did research and found that it was possible to treat drug resistant TB in a shorter time than initially it was,” Dr Turyahabwe said yesterday in Kampala at an event organised to raise awareness about TB.
“Now the treatment takes a shorter period and this will encourage more patients to finish their treatment than taking the drugs for two years,” she added.

Reducing the treatment period will also make it cheaper to offer treatment for the disease. Treating resistant TB requires about Shs18m in 20 months per patient.
But the new treatment has a combination of seven drugs, which the patients will take for the first five months and then complete the last four months on four drugs. The cocktail of kanamycin, clofazimine, ethambutol, ethionamide, isoniazid, moxifloxacin and pyrazinamide are some of the combinations patients will be taking.
Uganda is one of the top 30 countries in the world with the highest multi-drug resistant TB and Kampala tops the districts with the highest prevalence. It is estimated that one in every 100 and 12 in every 100 previously treated TB patients have developed resistance to TB treatment.

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