Written by Emmanuel Ogbeche

TB: .5m Nigerians saved in last 5yrs by USAID intervention

It has emerged that over 518, 000 tuberculosis sufferers in Nigeria have had their lives s through the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, together with the Nigerian government.

The USAID through the Challenge TB activity implemented health facility and community-based TB case finding interventions, including health systems strengthening in 14 Nigerian states. 

The programme which started in 2014 is said to have cost a princely $40 million.

USAID Mission Director, Mr. Stephen M. Haykin, said at the closing ceremony that, “In collaboration with the Government of Nigeria and other TB partners, Challenge TB worked to raise awareness, reduce stigma and improve health seeking behaviors among vulnerable Nigerians,”

In collaboration with Nigeria’s National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program, Challenge TB provided technical support that helped close gaps in diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, contributing to improving access to TB services, preventing disease progression and strengthening service delivery platforms.

With the help of Challenge TB and in alignment with the National TB Control Program’s END TB Strategic Plan, Nigeria increased TB case notification by two-fold over the last five years and improved TB treatment coverage, a statement by the US Embassy in Abuja read.

Giving an account of his survivor’s story, Kasimu Yahaya, 24, of Keffi, was a student of Nasarawa State University in 2017 when he fell ill with weakness, headache and cough.

When medication did not improve his condition, he went to a USAID-supported primary Health Care Center where he tested positive for TB.

After six months of free treatment, Yahaya is fully cured, and with the financial help of Challenge TB, has completed his education and is now a self-appointed advocate for TB awareness across Nasarawa state.

“I didn't know all this time that the help I received was from the American people,” Yahya said.  “I will be grateful always.  What’s more important than help to improve your health and save your life? Without health you can't achieve anything else.

Focus states for TB Challenge included Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross Rivers, Enugu, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, and Rivers.

 

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