*Screens 19,000 persons, identifies 1,286 presumptive individuals, enrols 52 confirmed TB cases for therapy
The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) and the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) has launched a mobile application for screening and notifying tuberculosis (TB) cases by private health care providers in order to ensure treatment of more cases in the country.
The Mobile Application for Tuberculosis Screening (MATS), according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO), IHVN, Dr. Patrick Dakum, “is a game-changer in the provision of real-time and online information on progress made by private-for-profit facilities, faith-based organization facilities, patent medicine vendors, community pharmacists, private laboratories and other TB referral entities.”
Dakum said following the deployment of MATS, there has been an increase in the TB screening efficiency and linkage between the facility and community-based units and more than 19,000 people have been screened resulting in the identification of 1,286 TB presumptive individuals and 52 confirmed TB cases enrolled for treatment.
Dakum, observed that the private sector in Nigeria contributed 14 per cent to the total national TB case notification in 2019 and it is expected that the MATS app will contribute immensely to the actualization of the goal of the grant which aims to improve public-private sector contribution to the national TB case notification from 11% in 2017 to 35% in 2020.
According to him, the application is already being used in Edo, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Ogun, Kogi, Niger, Sokoto, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Anambra, Enugu, Rivers, Imo, and Abia states.
The IHVN CEO explained that individuals, who visit private health providers in the community are screened with standard TB symptom checklist on the app thereafter, appropriate referral of clients or samples for diagnosis and treatment is initiated.
“Private providers can download the app from the Google Play Store or via a web link, register as a user and start using the app once activated by a TB treatment facility. All screening data from the various referral entities can be viewed on the treatment facility’s dashboard and a summary on the mobile app,” he said.
Also speaking, NTBLCP Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Dr. Obioma Chijioke-Akaniro, observed that the app simply shows the efforts directed towards finding tuberculosis cases. “The simplicity of MATS makes it attractive to the private sector especially as they may not oblige to filling cumbersome tools,” she said.
Obioma said that MATS will be continually upgraded based on feedback from its users adding that the application was developed and redesigned by PharmAccess to suit the peculiarities of private health providers in line with the national algorithm for TB screening and diagnosis.
Upgrade and deployment of the application are implemented by IHVN under the Public-Private Mix (PPM) grant funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Nigeria is among the 14 high burden countries for TB, TB/HIV and Multi-Drug Resistant TB. The country is ranked seventh among the 30 high TB burden countries and second in Africa. The problem of TB in Nigeria has been made worse by the issues of drug-resistant TB and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
It is estimated that 407,000 people in Nigeria have TB each year. This is the estimated number of HIV negative people.
Source: The Guardian