NIGERIA – The Kaduna State Government in Nigeria has teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to initiate, plan and conduct a two weeks integrated mass tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19 screening campaign.
The WHO Regional Office for Africa highlights that tuberculosis and COVID-19 share similarities despite being caused by different biological agents, noting that to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, Nigeria plans to get 70% of its population vaccinated by the end of 2022.
“Worldwide, TB is one of the highest causes of death from a single infectious disease and in the past two years, nearly all countries including Nigeria have felt the impact of COVID-19, resulting in a global health crisis with over 595 million people infected and above 6.45 million deaths as of 14th August, 2022,”WHO notes.
Subsequently, healthcare stakeholders have partnered to expand integrated tuberculosis and COVID-19 testing in Nigerian communities following concerns about the low turnout of testing against the two deadly diseases in the region.
For TB, we harmonize and triangulate data reported from the facility registers (presumptive TB and treatment registers) with laboratory register records and the drug inventory records used to crosscheck data quality.
The Kaduna State Government has collaborated with WHO and other partners to organize an integrated mass screening campaign across the 23 Local Government Areas in the state in a bid to combat the highly infectious diseases.
The World Health Organization said that two high-risk communities from the Local Government Areas were selected based on reviews data on the burden of TB and COVID-19 infection, population density and the testing rates in the state.
WHO reports that health workers took the TB testing outreach to Rigasa community, Kaduna State where communities benefitted from the free TB and COVID-19 testing while expanding coverage for COVID-19 vaccination and treatment.
In addition, the intergovernmental health body urged members of the public to get tested for TB and COVID-19 while calling upon people who test negative for COVID-19 to use the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination during the community outreach.
The agency cautioned that Nigeria has the highest burden of TB in Africa and ranked sixth globally, stressing that the mass screening campaign aims to tackle the rising cases of COVID-19 and TB as well as improve the low population coverage of COVID-19 vaccination in the Nigerian state.
Furthermore, the mass campaigns funded by USAID and GAVI will significantly contribute to government efforts towards attainment of the national COVID-19 vaccination target to ensure that the widespread disease is no longer of public health concern by the end of this year.
WHO also provides supportive supervision in the field and ensures all persons vaccinated are uploaded to the Electronic Management of Immunization Data (EMID) platform and the data validated along with offering technical support and catalytic funding.
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