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News from the Regional NGO Coordinators: Nigeria
Socio-Economic Restoration of My First MDR-TB Patient*
I work as the Tuberculosis Program Manager in Akwa Ibom State, Southern Nigeria. My job entails management, coordination, and supervision of all TB programme activities at state and local government levels.
My first MDR-TB patient was a 30-year-old bank staff member in one of the high-ranking multinational banks in Nigeria. His bank job was his only source of income and he had a family of three and six extended family members to support. The big challenge was being off work for a period of eight months yet retaining his job. This was tough, as it was not in the HR policies of the bank to have staff stay off work for so long. Letters were written several times to the management of the bank informing them of the employee’s predicament, but there was no positive reply; rather, there were threats to lay him off, but we did not give up. Eventually when he completed his eight months treatment, we encouraged him to return to work while we waited anxiously to know the outcome.
Our joy knew no bounds when he came back to inform us that he had been reabsorbed. The entire State TB Control team was immensely excited and happy as many patients in the same predicament had lost their source of income in the process of receiving treatment. My patient presently has three months left to complete his twenty-month MDRTB drug regimen. He suffered minimal adverse reactions to his treatment and consistently records a negative growth of the drug resistant tuberculosis microorganism. He remains productive on his job and even got promoted recently. His case is one of the success stories I have encountered on my job that encourages me to keep doing what I do joyfully!
Dr. Valerie Okon Obot
NGO/DPI Executive Committee Regional NGO Coordinator in Nigeria
Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria
• Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)