The government in Nigeria has deployed health officers, resources and strategies to all the states to investigate, test and treat tuberculosis patients for free.
The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTLCP) identified low case finding and contact tracing as the major challenges hindering the eradication of tuberculosis in Nigeria.
Dr Adebola Lawanson, the programme national coordinator, disclosed this at the review meeting organised by the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria and the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme in Lagos.
Lawanson said the challenges had forced the ministry of health to embark on the massive deployment of personnel and materials to confront the menace of tuberculosis.
“The review is to enable stakeholders at all levels and partners in the multi-resistant tuberculosis programme to interact and review the progress so far, identify key implementation challenges and possible solutions to tuberculosis.
“If one patient has tuberculosis, many people may be affected through contact, that is why we stress the need for every tuberculosis patient to be tested and treated on time.
“Those who have been coughing for two weeks or more, experiencing weight loss, night sweat and fever can be tested with machines and get their results within two hours.
“We have to look out for the success of the patient with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, because that is the more complicated tuberculosis,” she said.
Lawanson said that the programme’s major plan in 2018 is to limit those who would graduate into more complicated tuberculosis by providing more services for the patients.
“Overcoming these challenges will make us give quality care to our tuberculosis patients.
“In 2018, we will still continue with the contact tracing by collaborating with our partners, who provided a mobile truck known as ‘Wellness on Wheels Approach’ for the exercise.
“The trucks are equipped with necessary machines and the main purpose is to take it to the people’s doorstep in every community and educate them on issues of tuberculosis,” she said.
Lawanson said that there would be massive sensitization on tuberculosis in all primary healthcare centres to help them identify all the symptoms of tuberculosis.
Also, Dr Aderonke Agbaje, the Associate Director, Global Fund Programme of the institute, said the review was an opportunity for key stakeholders from different states to provide solutions to the identified challenges hindering tuberculosis eradication.
Agbaje said innovation had been introduced into the tuberculosis treatment by ensuring new case findings and mobilising local resources within their facilities.
“We have over 120 people for this programme, which is in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme.
“The significance of case finding is that every tuberculosis patient not placed on treatment will infect 10 people, which will also increase the spread of the disease.
“When we started the treatment, tuberculosis patients were placed on 24 months treatment regime, which was very long and tedious.
“This made us to introduce new treatment regime, through the collaboration of international companies that will be for just nine or 11 months,” Agbaje said.