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SPECIAL REPORT: How Kano is Partnering USAID to End Tuberculosis

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Amina Abubakar has endured endless coughing, constant exhaustion, high body temperatures, and loss of appetite and weight for about three weeks.

The teenage girl, who resides in the Fagge Local Government Area of Kano State, is currently a patient at the Sabo Garba Clinic & Maternity Hospital in Fagge.

She was coughing helplessly when I visited the hospital’s isolation room where she was being treated.

“I was admitted three days ago. I barely sleep at night because of the cough, and I'm currently feeling feverish,” she said.

Kano TB Cover

Binta Muhammad, another resident of Fagge, used to weigh 50 kg but has lost 8 kg in the last six months.

They both suffered from tuberculosis (TB), a disease caused by the bacterium, Mycobaterium tuberculosis, with doctors saying Binta had skeletal TB.

The good news is that Binta is recuperating after six months of TB treatment courtesy of the Kano State government, with help from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BA-N) project. 

“Whenever I slept at night, my mattress would be soaked in my sweat. And, as you can see, I have lost a lot of weight because of the disease. I was even stigmatized which makes me feel very bad,” she said.

“After they confirmed that I had TB, they placed me on six weeks of TB treatment. I left the hospital last week after the nurse confirmed that I was TB-free again. So, I want to thank the donors for their support.”

Tuberculosis Kills More Than One Million Annually

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that mostly affects the lungs. It spreads through the air when infected persons cough, sneeze, or spit. Babies and children are at higher risk of contracting it than adults.

In 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported 10.6 million tuberculosis (TB) cases worldwide, made of six million men, 3.4 million women, and 1.2 million children.

It recorded 1.6 million fatalities (including 187,000 people with HIV), making it the world’s top infectious killer disease.

Nigeria is ranked the number one TB-burdened country in Africa and number six worldwide with 467,000 people suffering from the disease. Experts say 47 percent (218,000) of infected people in the country are currently under treatment while 53 percent(249,000) are yet to be detected.

Kano Records 8,637 TB Cases Quarterly, 93 Deaths in Six Months

A report from the Kano State Ministry of Health indicates that the state records 8,637 TB cases per quarter, making it the leading state in TB cases.

The state recorded 93 deaths due to the infection in the last six months. This explains the worrisome situation of TB and the need for its timely diagnosis and treatment.

Kano Government Partners USAID

In 2020, the Kano State government partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BA-N) Project and launched a behavioral change campaign to educate residents on the essence of TB testing.

A year later, the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Bruli Ulcer Control Program (NTBLCP) launched the TB Unified Campaign tagged "Check am o" to further educate people on the signs and symptoms of TB, and encourage them to get tested if they have any signs or symptoms of the disease.

The goal of the campaign was to increase TB case findings, put many people who are vulnerable to developing active TB on preventive treatment, and proactively prevent further transmission of the disease.

The state coordinator of Breakthrough Action Nigeria Project, Ahmad Muaz said more than 200,000 people have been tested for TB in 2023.

Fifteen thousand of the ones who tested positive for TB are on treatment, he added.

According to Ahmad, “The campaign also informs the people that all TB services are free and are available at health facilities across the State.”

Impact of Intervention 

Sani Sharif Sani, a resident of Kurna Asabe in Ungogo Local Government Area of Kano State is one of the patients who recovered from the deadly disease after the intervention of the BA-N initiative.  

“I suffered from this disease for like a year. After the treatment, the nurse tested my carter and the result showed I was negative. So, I'm very happy right now,” he told me.

Kano Commemorates 2023 National TB Testing Week

As the state commemorates the 2023 National TB Testing Week this year, the state government, with its donor partners carried out TB outreaches in 53 communities.

During my TB monitoring visit to Dugwu, one of the designated testing venues at Ajingi Local Government, over 100 people queued, eagerly waiting to be examined.

The State Program Manager of Tuberculosis, Leprosy, and Buruli Ulcer Control Program, Dr. Ibrahim Aliyu Umar, said the state government provided 1,346 facilities to halt the further spread of the disease.

“The program would be sustained to ensure that the State is TB-free,” he said.

On his part, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abubakar Labaran Yusuf, assured the people that anyone who tests positive for TB will be treated free of charge, like the over 8,277 patients who recently benefited.

“Anyone who tested positive for TB would be treated in the facilities set aside across the State. I am happy to inform you that we placed a total of 8,277 TB patients which represents 96% of the total burden on TB treatment,” Dr. Yusuf said.

Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in April this year puts TB as the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19 with 1.6 million people killed in 2021 alone. 

This implies that TB kills faster than HIV, AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases.

This story is supported by Breakthrough Action Nigeria, a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) dedicated to funding social and behavioral change (SBC) projects designed to increase the practice of priority health behaviors in the areas of malaria; maternal, newborn, and child health, including nutrition and tuberculosis.


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