Image: Dr John Stephen – making impact in Tuberculosis, Leprosy and HIV/AIDS Control in Adamawa State, Nigeria and Globally
It was Harry S. Truman that said, “Men make history and not the other way around”.
In periods where there are no leaders, society stands still.
Progress occurs when courageous and skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.
Great men appear now and again to help shape the course of human history.
Working as the Programme Manager at the Adamawa State Tuberculosis (TB) and Leprosy control unit of the Adamawa State Ministry of Health from 2003 to 2014, the passionate spirit displayed by this gentlemen showed him to be an enemy not only to TB and Leprosy, but to the dreaded HIV/AIDS pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives in the State.
The delivering astute ability of Dr John is obsequious to will his entire life of fighting TB, Leprosy and AIDS in the entire country, having gathered adequate exposure to leadership and management skills, adequate experience with programme implementation at the National, State and Local Government levels and much experienced in working with Local, National and International Partners who supported the implementation of TB, Leprosy and HIV/AIDS Control activities at various levels in Adamawa State.
The management and control of TB and HIV/AIDS in Adamawa State received a boost when Dr John Stephen was ratified to have much experience in Public Health, Global Health Diagnostics and Advanced TB Diagnostics through several trainings held in various countries funded by the International Partners who have worked closely with him for over a decade.
THE RISING HIGH OF DR STEPHEN JOHN
When he resumed as the Programme Manager of Adamawa State TB and Leprosy Control unit in 2003, the State began to experience a significant achievement in the control of TB and Leprosy.
In less than 5 years after assuming as PM, there were over a hundred TB treatment and diagnostic centers across Adamawa State with thousands of TB cases detected yearly and placed on treatment and ultimately cured.
There was hardly a community in Adamawa State that did not feel the impact of the TB and Leprosy Control Programme.
It was not surprising that he received 2 commendation letters from the Netherlands Leprosy Relief in 2004 and 2008.
The Adamawa State Chapter of Radio, Television, Theatre & Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU) also awarded the hard working Doctor a certificate of merit award for community service in 2004.
Seeing his ingenious efforts in the control of TB and Leprosy, he was made a trainer and mentor of new Programme Managers on TB and Leprosy by the Netherlands Leprosy Relief, the National TB and Leprosy Training Center, Zaria and the KNCV/TB CARE, a Dutch international NGO in Abuja.
His wealth of intelligence began to take Dr. John outside to impact knowledge to students and Staff of institutions at managerial level.
He served as an external facilitator to National TB and Leprosy Training Centre Zaria from 2007 to 2014, he also served in the same capacity for the School of Nursing and Midwifery Yola from 2009 to 2012. He has also been and still is a part time Lecturer for the B.Sc. Community Health Programme at the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola from 2011 till date.
Soon the name John went abroad having implemented a program that targeted Nomadic Pastoralists in Adamawa State who were known to have a high prevalence of TB and Leprosy as a result of the high risk of transmission of these diseases that abound among this special group.
The “TB Reach” project was funded by the STOP TB Partnership in Geneva and became a top ten innovative TB Case finding project among hundreds of projects funded by the same organization globally.
Lesson learnt from this intervention was packaged into a TB case finding guide produced by STOP TB Partnership in 2016.
The wits of Dr. Stephen John have given him Membership to various international bodies which include the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, the American Thoracic Society and the World Health Organization’s Global Indigenous Stop TB Working Group.
He has been a consultant on Global Fund to the Netherlands Leprosy Relief since 2015 and the United Nation Office for Project Services from 2016.
The growing high of this promising Adamawa state Born Doctor took him to Thailand, Canada, Malaysia, France, Indonesia, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Ethiopia as a resource person, where he spoke and presented in International Conferences on HIV, TB and other lung diseases as well as development of various guidelines for the control of these diseases for adoption by countries.
Recently Dr. John toppled up a feather in his head haven been selected to join a 15 Man committee of reputable Doctors globally to review the Wave 5 TB Reach Grant applications from hundreds of projects across the world.