A special team from the presidential taskforce on coronavirus is in Kano to probe the mass deaths that have occurred in the state in recent days and access the state’s effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.
It comes a day after Governor Abdullahi Ganduje lashed out at the federal governor for neglecting the state despite the intensity of its situation.
Kano, with a population of nearly 20 million, has been able to test less than 500 people for coronavirus since a testing centre was established by the Nigeria Centre for Disease a month ago.
Deficiency in testing reagents raised concern in the wake of the mass deaths.
Leader of the team, epidemiologist Nasir Sani Gwarzo, speaking upon their arrival at Kano Government House, dispelled the claim of neglect.
“The purpose of our visit in Kano is to do exactly what Mr. President has directed us. Anybody looking at Nigeria as a nation knows that Kano state is very important because of so many factors, strategic position in the economy, population size, and even globally, whatever happens in Kano is potentially happening all over the world,” he said.
“Anytime anything happens in Kano it attracts a lot of attention, either positive or negative including confusing signals.
“However, Mr. President’s directive is very simple. He gave us the marching order through the Honourable minister to come to Kano and work with the teams and find out what do they need in terms of support.
Gwarzo continued: “He also added that, from our experience in handling epidemics, with all the wrong news going out became a concern to Mr. President and he requested that whatever it is Kano people know better we shall come interact with you and find out whatever support and beyond what we can do we can call for additional reinforcement” he said.
On his part, Special Adviser to Minister of Health, Professor Abdulsalam Nasidi said, “We are not here to compete, we are not here to replace, but we are here to reinforce. There are some few things I want to say that is one, please let us know that Kano state is not in denial, Kano is affirmative that there is coronavirus.
“So what we have to do is to immediately do all we can from the state, from the federal government and all partners to interrupt the transmission of this virus among our people; that’s our objective number one, interrupt immediately.
“Secondly we are going to work with your team to see that we detect the remote and any other cause of the so call frequent deaths that are occurring, and see which ones are actually caused by the virus we are all talking about or which ones are natural causes,” he added.
Backbone to fighting deaths
Gov Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said, “The backbone of fighting this disease apart from appropriate structures that is physical structures that we need to be in place and fully operational is the laboratory. The testing centre is the nucleus and once the nucleus is bad the other segments of the cell will certainly be bad.
“If you don’t have a functional testing centre like now which is completely down for almost one week now, you find out that the continued other processes is immaterial because you cannot move forward. You cannot take samples which you cannot treat.
“You take samples which you send to Abuja, from here to Abuja is seven hours because the road is under construction, some of the samples can get spoiled and by the time you reach Abuja there could be times where the samples were bad as such they had to come back to Kano and start all over to take the samples and then go back.