Six-year-old Bukenya Hethiri, began coughing at the age of two. It took three years to diagnose him with tuberculosis (TB), due to the challenges of diagnosing TB in children.
There are more than 1,000 private healthcare clinics in Kampala, which are the first port of call for more than 50% of the population. But until now, they had limited skills and resources to diagnose TB.
The urban slums of Kampala, Uganda have high rates of TB, with confined environments and poor ventilation helping to spread the disease. Healthcare services often fail to diagnose children with TB.
Hethiri and his mother live in a small room in a slum in the Kawempe division of Kampala. He was finally diagnosed with TB thanks to the help of a local village health worker who was part of the city's SPARK-TB program.
Children are estimated to contribute to between 12-20% of the 60,000 total TB cases notified each year in Uganda. SPARK-TB has provided private clinics with the skills and services to more readily spot and diagnose TB first in adults, and now children.