TUBERCLOSIS IS BIGGEST CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG PRISONERS IN UGANDA

4 GENEXPERT MACHINES HANDED OVER TO PRISON BOSS BY MINISTRY OF HEALTH

By Goodluck Musinguzi

Ministry of Health has handed over 4 GeneXpert machines to Uganda Prisons to increase tuberculosis testing among inmates.

TB prevalence is 4 times higher among prison inmates than the general population. Increased testing will enable us identify TB cases and link them to treatment.

Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary presided over the handover of the machines to the Commissioner General of Prison Dr Johnson Byabashaija at the Ministry Headquarters in Kampala.

She said the machines will help to increase diagnosis and detection of Tuberculosis among prisoners in Uganda. TB is the biggest cause of death among prisoners in Uganda.

The additional machines provide an opportunity for expanded capacity for TB diagnosis and detection of the resistant strains among inmates allowing for prompt initiation of treatment.

Director General Health Services, Dr Henry Mwebesa, Commissioner Laboratory Services, Dr Susan Nabbada, Asst. Commissioner in charge of National TB and Leprosy Program, Dr Stavia Turyahabwe accompanied the Permanent Secretary.

TB is not an unavoidable consequence of incarceration and can be controlled through the application of End TB Strategy-based programmes and improvements in prison conditions.

Effective TB control in prison protects prisoners, staff, visitors and the community at large.

On any day, it is estimated that the world’s prisons hold 8-10 million prisoners. However 4-6 times this number pass through prisons each year, because of the high turnover of the population.

A disproportionate number of prisoners come from socio-economically disadvantaged populations where the burden of disease may be already high and access to medical care limited e.g. substance users, homeless, mentally ill, ethnic minorities, asylum seekers, immigrants.

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