International Medical Foundation and Target Tuberculosis (Target TB) recently completed an assessment of how housing conditions and socio-economic factors affect vulnerabilities for Tuberculosis (TB). A total of 1,366 households were surveyed in 3 low income settlements within Makindye Division Kampala, Lira District and Luwero District.
Uganda is ranked 16th out of the 22 high TB burden countries by the WHO, and is one of only two of these high burden countries with increasing mortality. Population as well as urban growth has been increasing dramatically over the last 20 years, with much of this settlement unplanned. Two previous studies in Ugandan slums have shown higher prevalence of TB.
The study found that whilst the majority of those surveyed live within 5km of a health facility they were often unable to seek care due to a lack of drugs or health workers at these facilities, the cost of transport to and from the facility, the cost of drugs or being asked to pay a user fee even though such care and treatment is meant to be free at government health centres.
Those surveyed mentioned the stigma and discrimination experienced by those infected:
…you know TB and HIV/AIDS are more or less the same, so when one has TB, they feel ashamed of going to health centres in our community here…
Personal Health Adviser, Luwero.
The study highlighted crowding, poor ventilation and use of bio fuels, amidst a high TB and HIV burden, as important opportunities for partnership between the National TB Programme and the Housing and Environment sectors.
For a copy of the full report please email: firstname.lastname@example.org