ince the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, all states of the federation and indeed the entire world had been jolted, to take preventive measures and reduce fatalities. In Kano State, the situation was not any different, as Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s foresight and pragmatic approach have seriously helped in preventing the state from becoming Nigeria’s epicenter with mass deaths.
Global figures as at this moment amounted to 8,326,010 cases, with 4, 356,070 recoveries and 448, 002 deaths. Kano Verbal Autopsy Reports on Mysterious Deaths showed that only 15.9 per cent died of Coronavirus related cases as against the Federal Government 50 to 60 per cent reported earlier.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire was quoted to have said that more than half of the mysterious death that had happened in Kano which was of 50-60 per cent is COVID19 related.
However, the Kano Verbal Autopsy Report June 2020 according to Professor Mukthar Gadanya, a Public Health Physician from Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, only 255 peoples died from coronavirus related cases.
Professor Gadanya said the findings showed that 70 per cent of the deaths were on medications on different illness of Hypertension, Diabetes and many other illnesses. He said 60 of those dead were male while 40 per cent were female and 76 per cent were ages above 50, while the deaths had it peak period around April 26 with 121 persons dying. Professor Gadanya added that 1,774 persons actually died between April 1 and May 2, 2020 at the eight metropolitan cities of the state
Following the number of deaths recorded in the state, there was an initial panic, but containment measures were put in place, including the establishment of the state’s COVID-19 Response Committee, code-named the State Task Force on COVID-19, charged to formulate strategies that institutionalised rapid response against the current global situation, even before the inauguration of the Presidential Responds Team.
Ganduje said the Task Force was an all important body, which will pave way for the consolidation of the designed response in the state, assuring that the state government would do everything possible to support the Task Force for effective and efficient intervention.
It’s terms of reference included to assess “the present situation and the risk of COVID-19 in Kano State, coordinate the response of the state to the threat posed by it, through multi-disciplinary approach and inter-sectoral collaboration and to also advise the government on necessary steps and decisions that should be taken to convert the threat of COVID-19.”
Other terms, according to the governor include weekly briefing of the governor and the State Executive Council on the situation on ground, coordinate resource mobilisation for its unwanted outbreak, liaise with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies at national and sub-national levels on response to the pandemic problem.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna is the Chairman of the Task Force, Co-Chaired by Prof. Abdul-Razaq Garba Habib, Head of Infectious Disease Unit, from Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Bayero University, Kano, and the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa, as members and Dr Imam Wada Bello, Director Public Health and Disease Control, serves as the Secretary.
The Co-Chairman of the Task Force, Prof. Habib commended the state government for being proactive from day one up to the time of inaugurating the Task Force, assuring that COVID-19 is a global problem.
Health Commissioner, Dr. Tsanyawa revealed that five strategies, namely “heightened surveillance and identification of potential suspects, efficient contact tracing, enhance risk communication and behavioral changes, effective management of confirmed cases, if any and psychological support of confirmed cases, if any,” will help check the problem.
Governor Ganduje had in a live state broadcasts on Monday, March 23, 2020 on the state-owned Radio Kano, Abubakar Rimi Television (ARTV) and some local radio stations spoke on the pandemic.
He gave details of the situation in the state and efforts of the state government in responding to the threat of the menace, and called for individual personal hygiene, as amplified by health workers and urged for public support to the State Task Force on COVID-19.
The state government ordered the closure of all routes linking the state to other parts of the country from Friday, March 27, by 12 midnight.
From then all movements coming in or out of the state are banned. This included all kinds of movement through the borders of the state; even those coming to Kano through the domestic wing of the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) remained at the airport, without getting entrance into the city.
Governor Ganduje was at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) where he also inspected screening facilities at that entry point, assuring that his government would always support the good and proactive measures that were being taken by the Committee and other stakeholders.
While urging passengers affected by the necessary closure of the airport’s International Wing by the Federal Government, he called on all affected by the closure to see that development as another way of sacrificing to the safety of all.
Governor Ganduje reiterated that the decision was hard, but absolutely necessary, as part of precautionary measures against the deadly disease possible spread, and urged Kano citizens and all other Nigerians to bear with this difficult situation.
He insisted that the people must cooperate with health workers and all other stakeholders to make sure that our state is safe and the country in general. Social distancing, as advised by health workers and staying at home by all was an important aspect that should always be observed.
All agencies like the Nigeria Police Force, Kano Command, Kano Roads Transport Authority (KAROTA), Hisbah among others saw to the enforcement of this ban and governor calls on the public to cooperate with the security agents.
Kano State government is currently operating nine functional isolation centers which accommodate over 1,490 suspected COVID 19 patients, while the state is having three testing centers with capacity of testing over 2000 persons.
These are the Kwanar Dawaki Diagnosis Centre, ‘Yar Gaya Isolation Centre and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. The State Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) was considered as another Isolation Centre.
The Kano Isolation Centre, almost the first in the whole federation, was upgraded by Governor Ganduje, allocation that took care of the suspected Lassa Fever cases few weeks back and prepared it for any coronavirus cases.
The centre was situated at Yar Gaya, few kilometres away from Kano metropolis, in Dawakin Kudu Local Government was upgraded with more equipment that are of global standard.
A second isolation centre with 70-bedded facility, was build in the state, named Kwanar Dawaki Diagnosis Centre, with 15 wards and two Intensive Care Units with seven beds capacity each.
At Kwanar Dawaki Centre are 27 Ventilators, 14 out this are on standby and 13 are mobile. There are 20 Oxygen Concentrators with all other equipment that are needed.
While all wards are piped with Oxygen, water supply is effective and efficient with good conveniences. As power supply is also very encouraging.
He also commended health workers in the state “…for their dedication in this direction. Especially the Task Force on CONVID-19 chaired by His Excellency, the Deputy Governor and Co-Chaired by Professor Abdulrazaq. As leaders we must do our best to see that we help our people un-tirelessly.”
From the Government House, the state government carried out fumigation to Muhammadu Abdullahi Wase Specialist Hospital, Nassarawa GRA, where the governor witnessed the exercise, along with the Commissioners of Environment and Information, Dr Kabiru Ibrahim Getso and Mallam Muhammad Garba, respectively, and Managing Director of Refuse Management and Sanitation Board (REMASAB) Abdullahi Mu’azu Gwarzo.
Ganduje explained to all that it was because his government didn’t want to cripple the economy of the state, that the closure of Kano boundaries did not affect essentials like foodstuffs, some raw materials among others.
“Because we don’t want to cripple the economy of the state, that is why we did not include essentials from the border closure. While we are in this sorry and emergency situation, we will still do our best to see that suffering for our people is minimized,” he stated.
He said while markets would remained opened, he encouraged people to take the issue of social distancing very seriously, even as he urged the people to remain indoors.
Impressed by Governor Ganduje’s commitment to the unrelenting fight and genuine response to the deadly COVID-19, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, commended the governor and requested him to remain committed to the vision.
“Your Excellency, I want you to understand that this is a marathon. So please do not exhaust yourself. I see that you are always in the field every day driving the response, together with His Excellency the Deputy Governor. We must all preserve ourselves,” he said.
Dr. Ihekweazu made this request at the official presentation of the Mobile Testing Centre, donated by the Chairman Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, that took place at Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, Giginyu, Kano.
On the way forward, he said: “I want assure you that by the time we hear from the findings of Dr. Nasiru Sani Gwarzo’s team from the Presidential Task Force, for the days they have been here, we will have more solutions that we will use in solving the problems from Kano.”
Expressing his gratitude over the donation made of Mobile Testing Centre from Dangote, Dr Ihekweazu appreciated said, “We are grateful for this Nigeria’s solution to bring the private sector funding, private sector implementation to save the public sector in the country. That is our strength. To bring all different partners together. I will continue building on that strength.”
Making the presentation to the state, the Head of Dangote Foundation, Hajiya Zuwaira Yusuf, said that it gave her a great pleasure to present the mobile laboratory that has been conceived by Nigerians in Nigeria to provide the lead for the challenge we have in Nigeria and in Kano State specifically.