Nigeria among Countries Accounting for 80% Missing Tuberculosis Cases, Says Report

L-R: Senior, Commercial Lead Global Goods, Elana Robertson; Director Medical Laboratory Services, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, Mrs. Yomi Newton; Principal Engineer Global Goods, Michael Friend; Supervisor Medical Laboratory Scientist, Mrs. Lola Babadiya; Primary Health Care Centre, Raul Aregbesola and Tony Ejarque, during the launch of the Incubator, an innovation from Global Goods sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Lagos.
  • Global Good partners JP Selecta to launch Incudigit-SV 30L microbiological culture incubator

Ugo Aliogo

Nigeria is among the 10 countries that accounted for 80 percent of the missing Tuberculosis cases globally and has a treatment coverage of 24 percent which is quite low. These missing cases serve as a reservoir for the transmission of TB in the community, the global tuberculosis report has said.

Speaking at the launch of the new Incudigit-SV 30L microbiological culture incubator organised by Global Good in collaboration with JP Selecta of Spain, the Deputy Director of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Elom Emeka, said in 2018, Nigeria reported a total of 106,533 TB cases out of the expected 415,000 leaving over 300,000 TB cases undiagnosed, adding that in the same reporting period, only 18 percent of the estimated childhood, “TB cases were reported with a total of 2,275 cases of DR-TB notified; 70 percent (1,895) of which were enrolled into treatment.”

He also stated that in view of the above, low TB case detection remains a major challenge in the control of TB in Nigeria, noting that access to TB diagnostic services is sub-optimal, hence the need by relevant stakeholders to continue to support the effort of the present government in expanding the rapid diagnostic test to more local government areas in the country to breach the gap in accessing testing services in addition to expanding to new innovations as approved by the Federal Ministry of Health.

In his remarks, the Executive Vice President of Global Good, Maurizio Vecchione, said bringing the incubator to market is all about widening access to the clinical lab and getting the ‘lab out of the laboratory’.

He noted that the device illustrates the organisation’s overall commitment to increasing access to high value laboratory and diagnostic capabilities by inventing technologies that bring those capabilities closer to the point of care.

Vecchione added that in low-resource settings, access to reliable power is a problem. The incubator increases a frontline health worker’s confidence in the accuracy of culture-based microbiological tests and decreases the time to effective treatment for the patient.

Also speaking at the event, the Commercial Director of JP Selecta, José Antonio Ejarque, said the experience of working with Global Good on the product prototyping and development process for INCUDIGIT-SV 30L opened up exciting new possibilities for broader portfolio that could prove useful across multiple markets.

“We are now exploring the idea of applying the same principles of power-management to make other products immune to electricity outages and weighing the usefulness of phase-change insulation materials for other cold and warm-chain products,” he added.

Accurate detection and surveillance of some infectious diseases involves studying bacteria by growing it in devices that maintain optimal temperature and other atmospheric conditions. High unit costs, frequent power outages, lack of adequate temperature monitoring and ambient temperature control, and high maintenance requirements associated with currently available microbiological incubators have severely limited their usage and effectiveness in low-resource laboratories. The INCUDIGIT-SV 30 can operate without a reliable power supply or ambient climate control capabilities. Its internal sample chamber compartment capacity is 31 liters to support the need of a mid-sized microbiology laboratory. It has removable, adjustable shelves; an optional temperature data logging system; a user-adjustable temperature setpoint of 35°C, 36° C or 37° C; and a LED temperature display.

Continuing, Elom added: “With the endorsement of GeneXpert (Xpert MTB Rif Assay) as a diagnostic tool for TB by World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010, this has changed the diagnostic landscape of Tuberculosis and improved the detection of drug resistant TB, which has an advantage over the conventional smear microscopy. The use of GeneXpert has led to the increase in accurate diagnosis of TB using sputum and Extra Pulmonary samples as it has capacity to identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA and resistance to rifampicin by cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification technique with a turnaround time of less than two hours.

“The country adopted the use of GeneXpert as a diagnostic tool in 2011 for presumptive cases of DRTB and immunocompromised patients. However, with the expansion of GeneXpert from the initial seven in 2011 to 318 in 2016, the country adopted the use of GeneXpert as a primary diagnostic tool for TB where accessible.”