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New treatment to reduce period of TB treatment

TB patients in Uganda could soon have another lifeline after WHO released new international guidelines with the view of reducing the cost and time for treating multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

The health agency says they plan to reduce treatment to around nine months.

Currently, it takes a TB patient 24 months to complete a dose of treatment. However, with the new treatment regimen, it will take nine months.

Existing treatment methods can involve up to thousands of pills and daily injections. Side effects include deafness and damage to kidney, liver and lungs.

Dr. Frank Mugabe, the head of the National TB and Leprosy Program (NTLP) in Uganda says, ‘this will be good news to Ugandans suffering from this disease’.

The TB burden can be worsened by the weakening of the immune system, for example in people living with HIV or those in advanced ages.

According to WHO, over 4,500 people died of TB in the last five years and the TB prevalence is about 60,000. Between 2007 and 2014, TB death toll was 14,000.

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