Nigeria ranks seventh globally and first in Africa amongst countries with the highest burden of TB. With an estimated new infection incidence rate of 322 per 100 000 population without, Nigeria is at risk of a growing epidemic. Unfortunately, in a recent study by national partners of which Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) was part of, many people infected with TB are in denial that they are infected with TB, hence they seek for help in the wrong places before they come in contact with TB healthcare providers. Such is the story of Maryam Hamisu, a 17 years old student in Ibadan North Local Government Area, Oyo state.
Maryam was preparing to write her West African Senior School Certificate Examination when she started experiencing a terrible cough. Maryam reported taking a cough syrup, which eased off the cough for a while but unfortunately came back after eight months that made her stop going to school.
A Community TB Worker (CTW) working with Health Alive Foundation (one of the Community Based Organizations working with ARFH) discovered Maryam during the House to House active TB case search where she was found helplessly afflicted and in need of serious care. Her family member said she had been coughing continuously for more several months and her health condition had deteriorated.
“She took several drugs, cough syrups and herbal mixtures in a bid to cure her cough but all was to no avail. We all were worried about her worsening health condition as she was looking depressed, weak and had lost weight.”
Her sputum sample (a mixture of saliva and mucus) collected by the CTW and taken to the laboratory for diagnosis. The result came out positive the same day and she was immediately placed on treatment. One of the strategies used for the House-to-House Active case search is contact tracing, which involves contacting and testing persons who have been in contact with a confirmed TB patient. Maryam usually sleeps in the same room with her mother while the father sleeps in another room. Hence, her mother’s sputum sample was also collected for screening but the result came out negative. After a few days on treatment, Maryam was able to resume school and her family were happy to see her condition improve every day until she completed her treatment in September 2018.
“She is now living healthy and was able to write all her examination. It is evident to everybody involved in her case knew that Maryam has experienced a rapid improvement in her health condition. We’re grateful for the support from WICORA, ARFH and Global Fund” the CTW said.