USING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE TREATMENT OUTCOMES IN KANO
Digital Adherence Technology (DAT) is technology enabled care that provides additional support towards ensuring patients complete their treatment. It augments the traditional directly observed therapy (DOT) By providing tools that allow for patients to take their medication at a place and time that is convenient to them while remaining connected to their health care worker via use of the Everwell app to track either Medication labels or Video observed therapy (VOT).
In Kano State, 17 Facilities were engaged, trained, and supported to offer DAT services. This commenced from 13thOctober 2021 and so far, 525 patients have been enrolled.
Malam Abba Magaji, a middle-aged man who has a wife and five kids, in 2012 he fell ill and was diagnosed with TB disease at the Infectious diseases hospital kano and was immediately placed on treatment at Waziri Shehu Gidado General hospital using the then 8-months treatment regimen.
Malam Abba admits that early on during the course of treatment, especially when his symptoms began resolving, he started to skip treatment days some due to forgetfulness and others due to financial burden of transport cost for routine biweekly clinic visits for drug pickups. He managed to somehow complete his treatment but sadly, was again recently diagnosed with TB.
Malam Abba belongs to a group of patients classified as retreatment cases, this group because of their previous treatment history need to be closely monitored for adherence to forestall the likelihood of negative treatment outcome. Luckily, he accessed care at one of the KNCV supported DAT centers (Sir Muhammad Sanusi Specialist hospital) where he was enrolled on DAT after counseling and obtaining consent.
The 19th of January 2022 makes it exactly 2 months since Malam Abba commenced his current treatment, while it’s still early in the 6 month journey to cure, they say hindsight offers a clearer vision and Malam Abba has testified to his improved drug adherence habit as compared to his last treatment experience. On his mobile phone, he proudly displays evidence of his 3 digit code free sms messages to 3340 and replies that he gets, he says that this has truly been helpful as a ritual reminder to take his drugs and also motivating to know that he is remotely being always monitored or cared for.
Magaji thanks Almighty GOD for being alive and getting better, he extends his special thanks to KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation Nigeria for providing this innovative technology to help ensure patients do not fall victim to poor TB drug adherence habits more especially in Kano and country at large.