Aisha Buhari decries Nigeria’s 600,000 new TB cases yearly

USAID develops a mobile app for TB detection

The wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has decried over 600,000 new cases of Tuberculosis (TB) infection recorded in the country yearly and called for effective coordination among stakeholders to combat the scourge.

She also called for more resources from the government to bridge the gap for TB funding in the country. Speaking at the National TB Conference organized by the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, yesterday in Abuja, Mrs. Buhari lamented that Nigeria had the highest number of TB cases in Africa and sixth highest in the world, with children accounting for 60,000 of the new cases.

According to her, it is a bad report that Nigeria ranks among the lowest in TB detection in the world, detecting only 25 percent of TB cases, with over 170,000 Nigerians dying from a preventable and curable disease.

In his welcome address, the board chairman, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Prof. Lovett Lawson, noted that TB was among top priorities of Nigeria, one of the 14 countries listed by World Health Organisation (WHO) with the high burden of TB, TB/HIV, and multi-drug resistant (MDR)-TB.

Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under its Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector Plus (SHOPS Plus) TB Programme has developed a mobile application that will help health workers easily detect and report TB cases to the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP).

USAID/SHOPS Plus TB Technical Director Dr. Bolanle Olusola-Faleye, told newsmen yesterday that the “TB STARR Version 1.0 is an innovative mobile application for TB screening, diagnosis and reporting for independent clinical providers. It is available for free in the Google Play store and is currently undergoing beta testing.” She explained that after downloading the app, the health worker would do a simple, one-time registration to protect patient data and link them to the National TB Programme.