USAID Develops App to Checkmate Spread of Tuberculosis, Leprosy in Nigeria

  • …Annual missing cases pegged at 300,000

Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector Plus (SHOPS Plus) TB programme, has developed a mobile application that will help health workers diagnose and report tuberculosis cases to the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP).

This is to take care of the over 300,000 missing and undetected cases of the estimated 407,000 TB cases in the country and it accounts for nine per cent of the global gap in TB case detection.

The TB technical director, USAID/SHOPS Plus, Dr. Bolanle Olusola-Faleye, who disclosed this in Abuja, during the TB national conference, said health workers who are not affiliated with the National TB Program in Nigeria do not have proper information and tools to diagnose and report TB, hence the introduction of the app, as paper registers and reporting forms are time consuming and expensive to duplicate and collate at scale.

She said globally, 10 million people developed TB disease in 2017 and Nigeria ranks sixth amongst the high TB burdened countries globally and ranks first in Africa with a treatment coverage rate as low as 24 per cent.

“The TB STARR mobile application which is funded by USAID was launched in July 2019 and is available for free in the Google Play store.

“After downloading the app, the health worker is required to do a simple, one-time registration to protect patient data and link them to the National TB Program.

“Once registered, health workers can opt to diagnose TB “Do you suspect TB?” or notify the NTBLCP of a confirmed TB Case “Report a TB case.”

This data is shared with the NTBLCP through a multi-level web-based dashboard. “This innovative mobile application will help health workers to report TB cases, reduce the number of missed TB cases, improve TB notification to the NTBLCP and prevent further spread of Tuberculosis in Nigeria,” she said.