By Hassan Zaggi
Yahaya Kasimu, a graduate of Islamic Studies from the Nasarawa State University, has narrated how he was placed on Tuberculosis (TB) treatment for six months and now he is free from the disease.
He made the disclosure while responding to questions from our correspondent at the close-out dissemination meeting of Challenge TB activity, in Abuja, yesterday.
This is even as the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has declared its intention to continue to strengthen TB prevention, care and treatment in Nigeria.
Narrating how the sickness started, Kasimu said: “When our school clinic discovered that I was coughing, they gave me a note and advised me to go to the nearest primary health care centre to take sample of my sputum. When the run the test, they called to informed me that I was infected with TB.
“The placed me on weekly drugs for six months. After consistently following their instruction and taking my drugs for the six months, I was healed. I no more have TB.
“I did not pay anything. I want to thank the American people. Nobody will thank KNCV more than me because they saved my life.
“TB is a dangerous sickness and I want thank the American people through KNCV for saving my life. Because of this sickness I had to do a spill-over in school. But now I am a graduate of Islamic studies.”
Speaking at the close out meeting, USAID/Nigeria Mission Director, Stephen Haykin, disclosed that: “For the last five years, Challenge TB has anchored USAID’s TB portfolio in support of the government of Nigeria’s National TB and Leprosy Control Programme.
“Since 2014, Challenge TB has provided technical support to the National TB programme in 14 states, helping to close gaps in diagnosis and treatment of TB, contributing to improving success to TB services, preventing TB disease progression and strengthening TB services delivery platforms.
“Between 2014 and 2018, the last year with complete data, more than 581,000 Nigerians were treated for TB under Challenge TB’s auspices, and treatment coverage improved from 15 per cent in 2015 to 24 per cent today.”
The USAID has further revealed that it has concluded plans to build on and scale-up past successes to strengthen TB prevention, care and treatment in Nigeria.
The Head of Mission, however, said: “The irony of TB eradication in Nigeria is that the disease has clear symptoms, is easily diagnosed, is 100 per cent treatable and the treatment is free.”
On his part, the KNCV Country Director, Bethrand Odume, called for the strengthening of the health sector in Nigeria as, according to him, this is the major challenge confronting the fight against TB.
“The major challenge is the weak health system. We can provide the drugs and all other things but when you don’t have people at the facility to attend to them is a challenge.
“You know people normally receive TB services at the lower level of health care,” said.