More people, mostly the elderly with pre-existing medical conditions, are dying by the hour in Kano State as concerns grow over what could be responsible for the ‘mysterious’ deaths that had hit the city in recent days.
Kano recorded its index case of COVID-19 on April 11 but now has 73 confirmed cases – a situation the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 says was alarming and must be watched closely.
It was gathered that as a result of the situation, some doctors and medical facilities in the state were now turning away patients because they do not have the capacity to cope with the large number of patients seeking medical care and are worried about their own safety as well especially following the lack of Personal Protective Equipment to deal with cases of COVID-19.
Ibrahim Garba Maryam, a prominent community organiser in Kano, told SaharaReporters on Wednesday that many residents especially those with critical medical conditions were now left without access to medical care.
He said, “Government tried to suppress this thing but they cannot cover death. People see people die in their local area everyday, there are burial processions daily now.
“I, for instance, have three people that have died within a couple of days.
“We do not have data of people's health to even determine their medical history.
“Doctors and healthcare workers are now turning people away, most of them tell patients to go and bring a report on their health history.
“So, people who have been managing asthma or diabetes do not have access to drugs and care needed to help them survive.”
A doctor at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, who did not want to be named, corroborated Garba's assessment of the situation.
He said, "I think we are all concerned about what is going on. The truth is that the NCDC is not testing a lot of people, so you do not truly know what is going on in the population.
“If hospitals are rejecting people, it's because we cannot afford a total collapse of the system, that would be a disaster.
“More testing needs to happen to put everyone's mind at ease, doctors have families too.”
Speaking further, Mr Maryam decried the hunger people in Kano were currently experiencing, which according to him will greatly affect how people received the COVID-19 message in the state.
He said, "There is poverty and hunger all across the city. We do not have potable water in rural areas and government expects people to wash their hands with clean water.
“There has to be grassroots approach to preventing COVID-19 in Kano.
“There is no community sensitisation and messages that are going out do not reflect the reality on the ground.
“A lot of people in my community do not believe that COVID-19 even exists. They are on the streets everyday playing football and go to mosque all the time.”
He called on the Kano State Government to be transparent in its dealings in order to gain the trust of the public and earn cooperation in the fight against Coronavirus.
He added, “Politicians have shown that they not care that our healthcare system is obsolete, many of them are plotting to leave the country as we speak.
“The people also feel the government is exploiting this as a business venture because there is no accountability.
“What we are seeing is a collapse of a system that has been abandoned for years, there is no health infrastructure, so people will die.”