Thursday, March 22, 2018
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Health Care Providers Resolve to Improve DR-TB Services

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Health care providers responsible for the treatment and care of people who have drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) in eleven Southern States of Nigeria have resolved to improve prevention and treatment services offered to patients during their treatment period.

At a two-day annual review meeting in Lagos organized by the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) and the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Program (NTBLCP), over 100 health care workers deliberated on challenges to preventing and treating drug-resistant tuberculosis and steps to address the problems.

Doctors, pharmacists, nurses and laboratory scientists from Ebonyi, Rivers, Ogun, Lagos, Delta, Oyo, Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Abia, and Cross River states where the DR-TB program is being implemented were on hand to give reports on their activities throughout the year.

NTBLCP National Coordinator, Dr. Adebola Lawanson, who called for better health care worker attitude to managing the disease, said that identifying people with the disease is a key issue to be tackled. “The number one challenge in TB is low case finding. That’s why the Minister of Health at the wake of 2017 said that we should deploy all resources and strategies to make sure that we find the cases, put them on treatment and by default, cut down on transmission. This meeting is to look at how we have fared in 2017,” she said.

imagesIHVN Associate Director Global Fund Programs, Dr. Aderonke Agbaje added that finding patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis is important for the nation. “Science has shown that for every tuberculosis patient that is not placed on treatment, the person over a period of time will infect ten people. TB is also the highest killer for HIV positive patients so we really need to find the cases and put them on treatment,” she said.

Other areas of discussion for improvement in the coming year include storage and transportation of sputum samples, monitoring of adherence to treatment in communities, training of health care providers at the local government level, proper usage of Gene Xpert machines used to diagnose tuberculosis and provision of tools and guidelines in hospitals.

Program Manager of the DR-TB Treatment Center of the University of PortHarcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Dr. Omosivie Maduka said that the cross pollination of ideas and strategies was helpful. “It has increased the zeal and the passion to go back and do better. It has brought a new drive that there are people watching this program, who care about the program and will be watching out for your performance going forward.”

Another participant, a pharmacist from State Hospital, Iwo Treatment Center, Mr. Daniel Fadipe said that the review meeting has revealed gaps and steps to take. “It is a wake-up call for all hands to be on deck if really we should end TB as projected.”

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