From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
Reports from a study undertaken by a combined team of Kano State Ministry of Health and development partners, including the World Health Organization, (WHO), National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), AFENET and Lafiya Projects, over the mysterious deaths recorded in Kano in April has revealed that only 15.9 per cent of the people died of diseases related to COVID-19 pandemic.
This is in contrast with the views of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehinare that about 50 to 60 per cent of deaths recorded during the “Kano mysterious deaths,” were possibly caused by COVID-19.
However, presenting the Mortality Review (Verbal Autopsy) findings by the team, the Lead Consultant, Muktar Gadanya, a Professor of Infectious Diseases from Bayero University Kano (BUK), countered the Minister of Health’s comments which was based on findings by the Ministerial Taskforce Team, which earlier said the large number of the mysterious deaths were caused by COVID-19.
According to him, the team of researchers discovered that about 1,774 deaths were recorded, but that the researchers traced the relatives of about 1,604 of the deceased which represented over 90 per cent of the total figure.
Prof. Gadanya maintained that out of 1604 cases traced, only 255 cases of deaths were linked to COVID-19 pandemic, representing 15.9 per cent.
The team, however, alluded the remaining deaths to diseases related to hypertension, diabetes, malaria and other commonly identified ailments, including self-medication by victims who could not approach the hospitals for the fear of being identified as COVID-19 patients.
Reacting to the report, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, described the report by the Ministerial Taskforce Team as misleading.
According to him, “you are most welcome to this historic, memorable and all important occasion
pertaining to the mysterious deaths in Kano that occurred around March/April.
“This mysterious deaths also occurred in many other parts of northern Nigeria. There is no doubt this presentation of a well-researched issue has put to rest the hypothesis, the postulations, the speculations, the predictions, the anticipations; and even the ill-wishes of our detractors pertaining to this mysterious deaths.
“I do congratulate the team of our experts and I am happy when I read the literature review of previous occurrences all of the world in similar incidences.
“One should be convinced that this is a well researched and a well assembled and concluded report giving a result of 15.9 per cent of the mysterious deaths that occurred in Kano are attributed to COVID-19.
“This is the report the Technical Committee appointed by Kano state government as earlier promised and we have seen this report and the presentation has convinced professionals and laymen.
“The report by the Technical Committee from the Federal Ministry of Health indicating that 60 per cent of the mysterious deaths in Kano was related to COVID-19, I think all they indicated certainly lacked correlation.
“In fact, their data cannot pass the test of time, reliability and validity. Once such findings could not pass validity and reliability, you can as well, throw away that investigation into an ocean, signifying nothing, reporting nothing and misleading almost everybody.
“This investigation shows us that, yes, even though there was no practical examination in our laboratories, but applications, inferences from traceable sources, involving both primary and secondary data, I think there is no better way of conducting this research.
“So, I do congratulate this team and this report will be forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Health, the chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, the National Coordinator on COVID-19 and most importantly, it is now made to the members of the public.”