The KNCV-led TB REACH project, “Scaling up Innovative Delivery of TB Care to Nomadic populations in northeastern Nigeria”, funded by the Stop TB Partnership, was coordinated on the ground by two community-based organizations (CBOs) active in three states in northeastern Nigeria (Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba). KNCV provided technical and fiduciary guidance to the CBOs (Janna Health Foundation and SUFABEL Community Development Initiative).
The purpose of this project was to expand TB care in an innovative and collaborative manner through involvement of nomadic leadership to ensure that patients and communities have ownership over the design, implementation and sustainability of the project, while retaining an evidence-based approach. The objective was also to stimulate policy change on the allocation of scarce resources to improve TB case detection.
The project was launched at the end of 2018. Community leaders, both male and female, were engaged as TB advocates. A cadre of volunteers were recruited, and many were provided with motorcycles to reach rural areas for screening and to transport sputum specimens to TB laboratories. In 2019, nearly a half million nomads (men, women and children) were actively engaged for TB screening.
In 2019, nearly 3,000 confirmed TB cases were diagnosed and put on appropriate treatment as a result of this project. In addition, as nomads are at greater risk for zoonotic tuberculosis due to drinking unpasteurized milk and exposure to animals with bovine tuberculosis, an operational research project was initiated by KNCV in collaboration with the CBOs and the National TB & Leprosy Program, Nigeria. This study will help to understand the magnitude of the burden of zoonotic TB among the nomadic population and potential measures to prevent it.