Bringing hope with quality Tuberculosis services
Low awareness of TB and inadequate access to health facilities providing quality services, hinder health-seeking behaviors among rural communities in Nigeria. The SHOPS Plus project team witnessed this firsthand in a rural village in Kano State.
Badamasi, once a boisterous young man, developed a persistent cough and began to lose weight. His community isolated him out of fear that he would infect others. After traveling several miles to the nearest health facility, Badamasi was diagnosed with TB based solely on clinical judgement. The health care worker prescribed an inappropriate drug combination and incorrectly instructed Badamasi to isolate himself. Despite Badamasi’s efforts in seeking health services, the quality of TB care that he received was inadequate and led to the further deterioration of his health. Badamasi became so sick that he was unable to carry out daily routines. The uncertainty about his condition, coupled with social isolation, caused him to lose hope that he would recover, which led to depression.
In February 2020, a SHOPS Plus-supported provider from a private clinic in Garko LGA (local government area) was conducting an outreach event in Badamasi’s community. During the event, the provider described the classic symptoms of TB for community members using an educational flipchart. The provider also educated community members about TB myths and misconceptions and informed his audience where quality TB services could be obtained. Upon hearing this, Badamasi explained his health condition to the provider visiting his village. The health worker addressed his worries and explained that his symptoms were consistent with TB, but a sputum sample would provide a confirmation of this diagnosis. Badamasi consented to the sputum test and the sample was collected and sent to a laboratory. A few days later, the sample result confirmed that Badamasi did indeed have TB.
Badamasi was finally able to receive proper treatment, with the appropriate anti-TB drugs. Within just three weeks his condition began to improve. As he began to feel better, his appearance improved and he began to gain weight. “Nobody thought I could look this good again,” according to Badamasi. “Now my hope has come alive and I can achieve more with my renewed health.”
Badamasi’s family and friends were relieved that he would finally return to a healthy and happy state. His father expressed immense gratitude for the efforts of SHOPS Plus providers, saying, “Thank you for restoring the health of my son. He can now be with his wife and live his life.”
Due to SHOPS Plus community engagement efforts, Badamasi received appropriate treatment for TB and has returned to a normal lifestyle. In addition to properly diagnosing his condition that day, the SHOPS Plus outreach efforts in Rano LGA confirmed another TB case in the community through the screening of 55 individuals and subsequent testing of 28 community members. Through such quality services, the providers are bringing hope to rural areas.