How I survived Tuberculosis in Nigeria - Survivor narrates ordeal

How I survived Tuberculosis in Nigeria - Survivor narrates ordeal

- A Nigerian mother has narrated her survival experience fighting Tuberculosis

- Oluwafunke Dosumu said she had thought she had 'an ordinary minor cough' when the disease started

- She said she was asked to run series of medical laboratory investigations which dragged for a while and was later told by the doctors that she had Tuberculosis

On the morning of February 28, 2015, Oluwafunke Dosumu, a mother and health educator started coughing.

Like everyone would reason, she thought it was just, 'an ordinary, minor cough' and was treating it as such.

However, the cough persisted, prompting a visit to the hospital which she thought would just be a quick one.

She however said that was she expected was supposed to be a quick dash to the hospital and back home to her kids and husband turned into a long wait as she was asked to run series of medical laboratory investigations which dragged for a while.

Dosumu who spoke at the Tuberculosis Gala night which was hosted by the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, said when the results of the tests were out she felt the worst as she was told by the doctors that she had Tuberculosis.

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Tuberculosis popularly referred to as TB is an infectious disease usually caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria.

The disease affects the lungs, although it can also affect other parts of the body.

While most of the MTB bacteria infections do not have symptoms in its latent state, the infection can present symptoms such as bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum (mucus from deep inside the lungs), drastic loss of weight among many others.

An estimated 418,000 new TB cases occurred in Nigeria in 2018 while 106,533 cases (25%) of TB were notified in 2018, leaving a gap of 314,712 and 319,599 cases that are yet to be notified respectively.

According to Dosumu, at first, she was scared but later summoned the courage to go through every bit of the treatment process.

She said she was positive that she will come out of the process healthy despite having lost so much weight due to loss of appetite, night sweats and chest pain which had lasted for about six months.

Dosumu also said that immediately she was diagnosed with TB, she was isolated from her immediate environment, including her family and children.

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“I am a mother, a health educator, I survived tuberculosis (TB) in 2015," Dosumu said.

“It all started on 28 February 2015. I started coughing and assumed it was a minor cough and was treating is as such. After two weeks of minor treatments, the cough persisted, so I visited the hospital for check-ups. Immediately I was told to run some tests and when I got the results, I was told it is TB, a disease that affects the lungs.

“At first I was scared and shocked that I had TB, but later I summoned the courage to go through every bit of the process, positive that I will definitely come out of it. I was placed on anti-TB drugs, which I had to take every day for six months.

"During the process, I lost so much weight due to loss of appetite; night sweats as well as fever and chest pain. I was also isolated from my immediate environment, family and children for some months to face my health squarely and prevent the disease from spreading," Dosumu added.

While her experience has turned her into a TB champion and advocate who works with communities to prevent stigmatisation of TB patients, Dosumu called on the federal government to strengthen collaboration with partners to end the spread of the disease in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the minister of health, Isaac Adewole expressed concern over the rising cases of TB in Nigeria.

Adewole represented by the ministry's permanent secretary Abdullahi Mashi said Nigeria’s TB treatment coverage for 2018 with an estimated 418, 000 new cases, had only 106,533 cases reported in 2018 leaving over 300,000 cases undiagnosed.

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The minister said the current proportion of health facilities in the country with TB services is barely 265.

“Access to TB diagnostic services is a huge challenge. The current local government areas coverage of Gene Xpert, which is the first-line test for diagnosis of TB, is 41 per cent.

“Another worrisome trend is funding. The catastrophic cost survey conducted in 2017 showed that 71 per cent of TB patients and their households are affected negatively by the catastrophic cost due to TB," Adewole said.

Furthermore, the First Lady in her speech solicited for private sector and media partnership in the fight to end tuberculosis in Nigeria.

Mrs Buhari said instead of buying treated mosquito nets to fight malaria, Nigeria should go for a permanent solution that would help to completely eradicate mosquitoes in the country.

She said TB has become a major challenge globally and a killer disease, adding that it should be integrated in the fight against HIV/AIDS to reduce the deaths associated with the disease.

Also speaking the director of Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited, Rick Kennedy, said it was time for active collaboration to end the scourge, keep the promise on taming it, especially finding TB and treating it.

Kennedy who was represented by the medical director of Chevron, Paul Arenyeka, said the company has built, equipped and donated 28 chest clinics to health institutions across the country.

He said: "Since 2008, N16.6 billion ($2.7million) has been spent building and donating equipped chest clinics in Nigeria. Between 2015 and 2017, over 48,000 presumptive TB cases were registered in the facilities, with over 11,000 cases detected."

“The chest clinics contributed to about 3% of national presumptive TB cases registered and 3 per cent to national aggregate of TB cases,” he said.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the United States Centre for Disease Control (US-CDC) has said that about 18 Nigerians die as a result of Tuberculosis every hours across the country.

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The US-CDC representative, Bethrand Odume, speaking in Abuja on Thursday, March 14, at the pre-world TB Day press briefing said Nigeria is globally the sixth country with a percentage of nine percent and the first in Africa after India and Indonesia with a 26% and 11% respectively.

At the conference themed: "It's time! "To end TB in Nigeria (keep the promise! Find TB! Treat TB), Odume said Nigeria needs N147 billion to take care of Multi Drug Resistant- TB and diagnosis among others.

Odume said the estimated cost is expected to be raised by the government, communities, private sector, international donors and also from individuals.

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Source: Legit

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