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Qualitative Investigation of TB in Uganda in Progress

“Find the missing patients with tuberculosis ... One of the major reasons contributing to missing of cases is poor health seeking behaviour of those reporting chronic cough. About 39% of symptomatic presumptive TB patients and 36.7% of symptomatic prevalent TB cases did not take any action for their symptoms.

The reasons for not seeking care included ignored illness (31.1%), self-treated (31%), hindered by cost (16%), did not recognise illness (12%), long distance (5.4%), long waiting time (1.3%) and others (2.9%).

Understanding and addressing patients’ barriers to service access is crucial to maximize the demand for service utilisation. Furthermore use of poor TB diagnostic services contributes to missed TB cases. There is need to use up to date TB screening services; including use of new developments in diagnostics.”

This quotation is an extract from an analysis by Atim Salome, Advocacy for Better Health Project Officer of National Forum of People Living with HIV or AIDS Networks in Uganda, that was published in March 2017 in The New Vision under the title: “There is much more TB in Uganda than estimated.”

Atim’s analysis of the status quo is exactly the justification for the empirical research and advocacy study project code named: “Tuberculosis: Working to Empower Nations’ Diagnostic Efforts (TWENDE)” that is funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).

CPAR Uganda Ltd (CPAR) is part of the TWENDE Consortium and is currently collecting qualitative data from all over Uganda.  in order to contribute to the nation’s understanding of tuberculosis patients’ barriers to service access and how such barriers may be ameliorated.

As of 25th July 2017, CPAR had fully or partially collected qualitative data for TWENDE from 12 of the 20 districts that it planned to participate in the Uganda study. The data from the 12 districts is from a total of 165 participants, of whom 78 participated in interview conversations and 87 participated in four focus group discussions.

Qualitative data collection for the TWENDE study in Uganda that is being done by CPAR is on-going. It was hoped that TWENDE qualitative data collection for Uganda would be completed by the end of July 2017, but a more realistic completion deadline is by the end of August 2017.

Ms. Norah Owaraga, CPAR Managing Director, is the Expert Social Scientist for TWENDE and in that capacity she is taking the lead in guiding qualitative investigation for the TWENDE project in three East Africa Countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. In Uganda she is doing the qualitative data investigation. She is the author of this progress report.

Image Credit: The Humanist View