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COVID-19 pandemic: A monumental disaster unfolding in Kano

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By Usman Yusuf

1. There is a disaster currently unfolding in Kano with rising death rates particularly among the elderly that is not getting the National attention it deserves.

2. While some may explain this increasing death rates to the lack of medical care for the chronically ill due to the lockdown (which in any case is poorly observed and enforced in Kano), we should not forget that these same preexisting medical conditions make the elderly more vulnerable to infection and death by Covid-19

3. Kano, the most populous city in Nigeria will if urgent measures are not taken now, become the epicenter of Covid-19 pandemic in the African continent.

4. I have always believed that based on the epidemiology of the virus, the population dynamics, negative socioeconomic factors, the state of healthcare and infrastructure in the city, Kano alone will have more positive cases than the whole country put together. But, because we were not testing, we did not find. We are now seeing more cases because the test center in Kano started working just two weeks ago.

5. On Monday April 20th, 2020, there was a news scroll on National Television Authority (NTA) captioned “100 people died in Kano from a strange illness”. Really?, what illness can be stranger than Covid-19 at this moment in our history, I asked?

6. Print and social media are also replete with hysterical headlines about the rising fatalities in the city.

7. There are first hand reports from many cemeteries in the city of steadily increasing burials which the state government initially denied but later said it would investigate.

8. Doctors in the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) of the major teaching hospital in the city report that recently, almost 60% of all A&E visits are among adults with symptomatic respiratory infections with increasing fatality in those above 50 years of age.

9. To worsen things, most of the hospitals in the state are currently only partially functioning due to fear and uncertainty among healthcare workers who know very well that the hospitals can not cope with sick Covid-19 patients that will soon be coming.

10. The tragedy is that healthcare workers who are in the frontline and exposed daily to the mortal danger of this virus are not provided with any form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

11. About two months ago, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) lost two brilliant Doctors in the prime of their lives and careers to Lassa Fever after operating on an infected pregnant patient.

12. This is the reason that the AKTH Chapter of the Association of Resident Doctors issued a statement on 20th April 2020 putting the hospital authorities on notice that they will stop seeing patients if they are not provided with adequate PPEs.

13. These Doctors are right in their demands which are enshrined and protected by the WHO rights of healthcare workers taking care of patients in any pandemic.

14. Doctors took an oath to protect and preserve lives not to commit suicide which is what knowingly seeing a Covid-19 patient without PPE will be.

15. Nigerians as a people should salute, speak up for, and protect our healthcare workers. These selfless men and women, some of the best among us are in the frontline all across the nation putting their lives on the line for us in this existential battle against this unseen enemy .

16. Sadly, the Kano State’s Task Force on Covid-19 is in disarray since several of its key members went into quarantine after testing positive for the virus, this vacuum in leadership has resulted in the very slow response and testing by the State’s Rapid Response team resulting in increasing fatality particularly among the elderly.

17. It is the socioeconomic consequences of this pandemic that scares me more than the virus itself. How well it is handled now will determine this outcome. Clearly, Kano city is in serious trouble and the political leadership is in dire need of help from the Federal government, it’s citizens and the whole nation.

18. A wise man once said “When disaster strikes, it tears the curtain away from the festering problems that we have beneath them,”

19. I call on the Federal government to act now with all sense of urgency by mobilizing resources to Kano to achieve the following remedies before it is too late.

(a). Humane but strict enforcement of Social Distancing measures

(b). Provision of foodstuffs and palliatives to enable people to stay at home

(c). Aggressive case finding by increasing testing and isolating those found positive

(d). Provision of adequate PPEs to healthcare workers

(e). Provision of adequate Drugs & Consumables to hospitals

(f). Provision of more hospital & ICU bed spaces

(g). Provision of Ventilators to hospitals

(h). Employment of more healthcare workers like Nurses and Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWS) to assist in contact tracing

(I). Aggressive public education

(j). All deaths should be reported and swabs taken for Covid-19 before burials

(k). Active engagement of Traditional, Religious and community leaders

20. WE ALL HAVE A DUTY TO PULL TOGETHER AND LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER AT THIS TRYING TIME

Yusuf is a Professor of Haematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation

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Ahmed Musa signs short deal with Kano Pillars

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Nasiru Yusuf

National captain Ahmed Musa is considering a proposition to play some matches for his former club in Nigeria, Kano Pillars, in a move hoped to boost the local league and maintain his personal fitness. 

Kano Focus reports that the 28-year-old, who is a free agent since leaving Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr in October, had received offers from England, Russia and Turkey.

But as he mulls over his next European destination in the summer, the winger received a proposition from the governor of Kano, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Shehu Dikko, chairman of the League Management Company (LMC) for a short stint in Nigeria.

“After speaking with the governor and chairman of the LMC I am considering to play some games for Kano pillars,” the former Leicester City player told BBC Sport Africa.

“Anything that improves the image of Nigerian football is something that I strive to embark on and Kano Pillars holds a special place in my heart.

“It’s the team that helped me become the professional footballer I am today, so this is more than just football but a very strong bond,” Mr Musa said.

According to BBC a deal to bring Musa in has already been finalised.

Musa, who has built a training and fitness facilities in Kano to help grass roots football, scored 18 goals for Kano Pillars to finish as top scorer in the 2009/10 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.

His desire to help promote the image of the domestic league on social media is what the LMC, which runs the NPFL, is hoping to benefit from this season.

Musa made his 96th appearance for Nigeria in their 3-0 win over Lesotho in Lagos in the Super Eagles final Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

After Vincent Enyeama (101) and Joseph Yobo (100), Musa is Nigeria’s third most capped player in history, having played 96 matches since his debut aged just 17 in 2010.

He helped the Super Eagles win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and played for them in the past two World Cups

Musa scored twice for Nigeria at the 2014 and 2018 Fifa World Cup tournaments to become the country’s top World Cup goalscorer.

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Kano destroys expired products worth over N90m

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Nasiru Yusuf

 

The Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board has destroyed expired products worth N98 Million Naira.

Kano Focus reports that the items were apprehended at various market in the state.

Speaking shortly after the destruction, the Executive Secretary of the Board represented by the Director Environmental and Public Health Usman Rabiu Sadiq explained that, the exercise was aim at protecting public health against using hazardous products that may hamper their health especially during Ramadan fasting.

The Director stated that, the exercise was conducted after obtaining a court order granting the Board permission to destroy the products.

He called on people to be extra vigilant on consumables especially during Ramadan.

Kano Focus reports that the items destroyed include, drugs, baking powder, minerals and other exotics drinks.

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Kwankwaso left over N50bn liability for LGs 5km projects – Kano Govt

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Rabiu Kwankwaso

Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state government said the administration of former Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso left a liability of N54, 408, 259, 638.05 billion for the five kilometre road projects across the 44 local government areas of the state.

Kano Focus reports that the state commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba dropped the hint on Sunday while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the state Executive Council Meeting held at the Africa House, Government House, Kano.

He said the council received the report of the Technical Committee to assess the 5 km road projects all of which were awarded by the previous administration under the defunct Ministry of Land and Physical Planning with the state Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA) as supervising agency.

Mr Garba said the committee visited 39 local governments where its detailed report indicated awarded contract sum for the projects, present site conditions, value of executed works, amount certified and amount released for the projects.

The commissioner pointed out that 5km projects in three local governments were revoked and rewarded due to non-performance in Warawa, Ungogo and Dawakin Tofa, while some portions of the projects in Tsanyawa and Bichi along Kano-Katsina road were released to the federal ministry of works and housing based on request from the federal government.

He said other three projects in Rimin Gado, Karaye and Bunkure local government that fall within main arterial highway were expunged from the main project and re-awarded separately for execution, while metropolitan local governments of Dala, Nassarawa, Gwale, Municipal and Tarauni were allotted various projects within the municipality as 5km projects.

Mr Garba pointed out that the council has approved the release of N607, 124, 663.47 million for the rehabilitation of Rimin Gado-Sabon Fegi-Jilli-Gulu road in Rimin Gado local government.

The commissioner stated that approval has also been given by the council for the conversion of the existing School of Post Basic Midwifery Gezawa to the status of School of Nursing Gezawa to broaden the platform for training of more qualified midwives in order to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in the state.

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