Stemming the tide of strange deaths in Kano


In Kano, it is like death is lurking around unchecked. In this report by BASHIR MOHAMMED, he writes on what has become the latest pandemic in the state apart from Covid-19.

Corona virus or Covid-19 is no doubt a strange illness  currently taking a disastrous toll on residents of the ancient city of Kano with almost no permanent solution in sight despite the earlier steps taken by the state government to nip the menace in the bud.

The disease created psychological scare especially in the minds of those constantly glued to radio and television sets as well as those who read newspapers everyday. This is because of what is churned out as if the end time is here.

Taking a cursory look at the cosmopolitan nature of Kano where intense economic and commercial activities thrive at appreciable pace before the advent of the Covid-19, such a sprawling spirit appeared to have relaxed resulting in the collapse of many businesses brought about by the  lockdown imposed on the state.

For Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, fighting the scourge of Covid-19 is akin to waging a holy war, considering the destructive manner the pandemic has ravaged every country around the world. This prompted him to inaugurate a high-powered task force headed by his deputy, Dr Nasir Yusuf Gawuna, which swung into action without delay for the purpose of achieving results. 

The grim statistics of the  state Ministry of Health being monitored on its twitter handle and that of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had been quite startling looking at the alarming number of infections so far discovered in the state which is almost ahead of other states except Lagos.

However, with the  administration’s effort and latest intervention of the Presidential Taskforce on ways of getting out of the current mess, the attention of the medical authorities in Kano had considerably been geared towards fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, knowing that paying lip service to the menace would endanger the lives of millions of people.

Mystery deaths traced to strange illness

Despite such attention, cases of rampant deaths are also a constant reoccurrence in recent times. This has become a jigsaw puzzle for people who kept on guessing what is amiss in the state.

Looking at various prognoses adduced by medical experts over recent deaths in the state, the development is not as a result of Corona virus infection but as a result  of certain unidentified terminal illnesses which was expected to be tackled along the Covid-19. Report however shows that in cases where such patients suffering from the disease are not  properly attended to, it results in deaths.

Taking the recent episode in Kano as a case in point, prominent patients on their respective sick beds, had abortively battled certain diseases like diabetes,  hypertension and severe malaria fever leading to their death. The general consensus nof opinion is that none of them suffered from the much dreaded Corona virus.

Another case in point is the fact that a professor of Mass Communications, Prof Balarabe Maikaba, was  reported to have suffered a chronic diabetes which led to his death, just a day after the death of ex editor of Triumph Newspaper, Malam Musa Ahamad Tijjani, who also battled diabetes leading to his death and a host of other similar ailments that had claimed  many lives without Corona virus mentioned as the cause.

Taking a visit to some of the cemeteries located within the Kano metropolitan area, Blueprint spotted corpses flown into the cemeteries   from morning to evening, with those conveying the corpses getting exasperated as a result of the alarming  rate.

Taking the bull by the horn

Disturbed by such alarming development, the state governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje inaugurated an investigative committee  with the mandate of unraveling the cause of the rampant cases of deaths in addition to the intervention of the federal government in that regards.

Deaths sparks debate

However, the rising cases of rampant deaths had undoubtedly sparked off debates among residents of the city with many casting a slur on the state government for paying lip service to those suffering from various terminal illnesses and poor concentration on ways to stem the tide of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Malam Shuaibu Kwalwa, hospitals owned by the state government have almost stopped attending to patients in dire circumstances exacerbated by  the advent of the virus. He lamented that focusing attention on Covid-19 alone is counter-productive at a time like this. 

He noted that cases bordering on terminal illnesses are supposed to be treated with utmost dispatch, considering the precarious condition of patients in need of urgent medical attention while also adding that Covid-19 is a special case that ought to be treated in a special manner.

“I can’t imagine how a person in precarious condition of health should be abandoned to his fate. Even though Corona virus is real, the degree of publicity accorded the pandemic is enough to scare everyone. There are deadly diseases that are worse than Covid-19, so why all the noise about Covid-19 alone. Government is only crying wolf where there is none.

“For how long can we continue to wallow in such a despicable mess. What we are saying is that it is the responsibility of government   to treat every case on merit. “If someone is gravely sick, medical authorities should attend to him with dispatch as a matter of fact, we are at the point of losing confidence as far as the issue of health is concerned.

“We have a governor who has demonstrated his resolve to accord a human face to health care delivery in the state. We have applauded all his programmes on health, considering the giant strides he had made in that area. With the situation taking a new dimension in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is the need for a paradigm shift for the present challenge to be faced squarely, ” he remarked.

Narrating her ordeal in the hands of medical personnel in one of the most prestigious hospitals in Kano, a housewife who craved for anonymity told Blueprint that  he saw hell in the hospital at the time she conveyed her sick husband whom she alleged was abandoned in the car for two good hours only to find that he was dead in the car.

She said it is proving difficult for even the most elitist class to access health care easily considering the present log-jams stressing that in every situation, adjustment should be made to accommodate other health pressing needs. She lamented that it is highly despicable for those entrusted with the responsibility of attending to health care to renege on their duties.

“Government can only earn the confidence of electorates when those in the corridors of power live up to their billing. We cannot fold our arms to remain reticent when people are dying due to  negligence. We must rise to speak for ourselves and fight for our fundamental human rights. If somebody dies in a car waiting to be attended to and it was not done, what does that implies? To me, it is a gross violation of professional ethics,” she affirmed.

Speaking in a similar  vein a concerned citizen in Kano, Malam Yunusa  Gafan, said with the rampant cases of deaths among Kano residents, concrete steps should be taken to stem the tide of such rampant deaths pointing out that with the health sector given top priority by Governor Ganduje, something must be done to resolve any intractable  hurdle.

He pointed out that it is high time the Ganduje administration faced other health challenges that bother on certain complex illnesses rather than concentrating solely on Covid-19, stressing that the rampant cases of deaths could only be curtailed with concerted efforts.

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