ARFH’s Engagement with Community Leaders Increases Tuberculosis Case Finding in Nigeria

VIDEO: ARFH and TCCI Engage with Community Leaders and Stakeholders at a TB Launch Meeting in Chafuyi Village, Abuja, Nigeria.

The Chief of Chafuyi Village, in Abuja, HRH Isah Dangiwa, said that engagement and awareness has helped to detect and treat tuberculosis in his community and neighbouring slums.

He said this at a TB awareness launch meeting organized by Total Child Care Initiative (TCCI), to engage and inform Chafuyi community leaders and stakeholders of the house to house visit to find TB cases.

The house-to-house visits to detect TB cases are part of activities of the Active Case Finding (ACF) tuberculosis project of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) funded by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. TCCI is one of the 87 Community-Based Organisations (CBO) under ARFH conducting the ACF in Nigeria.

The stakeholders at the meeting are expected to inform community members of the ACF activities such as home visits and TB test for people with symptoms such as cough that has lasted for two weeks or more, fever or loss of weight.

His Royal Highness, Chief Isah Dangiwa stated that his community members that have earlier been tested and treated for tuberculosis have been cured.

He said: “we are very happy with TCCI and their partners because our community members who have been treated for tuberculosis have been cured. We encourage every member of our community who has symptoms to get tested and, if they are to be treated, we advise them to follow their treatment routine. I will continue to encourage the villagers to get tested whenever anyone comes to conduct tests.”

Jonah Agbaji, Programme Officer, TCCI, said: “we had earlier conducted an advocacy visit to the chief, and today, we intend to inform the community that Community TB Workers (CTWs) will be going from house-to-house to ask people if they have TB symptoms so as to collect their sputum sample for tests, and refer people who tested positive for treatment”.

At the meeting, Remi Kusimo, programme officer of ARFH Global Fund Tuberculosis Project, said: “part of the strategies we are using to increase TB case finding is the door-to-door outreaches in slums and overcrowded communities and we are here today at the Chief’s Palace in Chafuyi to support the TCCI in getting buy-in and support of community leaders who will inform community members of the house-to-house visits.”

She also reiterated that other stakeholders at the meeting such as Patent Medicine Vendors (PMVs) were invited to be encouraged to refer their clients who have symptoms of TB to be tested and treated for free in government health centres.

Ibrahim Abdullahi, Tuberculosis and Leprosy Supervisor in Abuja Municipal Area Council, said: “there is improvement in tuberculosis case finding because of these community outreaches and engagement with leaders, as it enables the whole community to cooperate with the CBOs. We are here to inform, educate and sensitize them about TB, to ensure that residents of the community do not drive the Community TB Workers (CTWs) working with the CBO away when they knock on their doors.”

ARFH is a principal recipient of the Global Fund grant to fight Tuberculosis in Nigeria. The TCCI works directly with the Civil Society for the Eradication of Tuberculosis in Nigeria (TB Network), ARFH’s sub recipient in Northern Nigeria on the Global Fund grant to fight TB.TB Launch Meeting Chafuyi