Tackling childhood tuberculosis in Uganda

Alongside scores of pregnant women and new mothers, Elizabeth Namubiru estimates that she and her team treat 200 children every month at her small Kiganda Maternity Clinic in Uganda. Children that are treated at the clinic come from the neighborhood surrounding the centre—a poor, transient community in Uganda's capital, Kampala. People live in conditions ideal for spreading tuberculosis and, each month, several of Namubiru's child patients show up with symptoms of the disease. But she says that parents almost never ask her to check for it.
Even when her staff suspect tuberculosis, they do not have the medical background or the equipment they need to diagnose it. Therefore, Namubiru refers children to the better-equipped government hospital nearby. However, many patients are unwilling to brave the long waits at the underfunded and understaffed national hospital. As a result, an unknown number of children with tuberculosis simply go untreated, often until it is too late.

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