Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, says more than half of the strange deaths recorded in Kano state may have been caused by COVID-19.
The minister said this while speaking at the presidential task force briefing on Monday, saying the verbal autopsy report from the state suggested that a significant number of deaths recorded was also triggered by an inability to access routine care as a result of the fear of COVID-19.
He said the team set up to probe the strange deaths confirmed that, a total of 979 persons died in eight local government areas of the state, 43 per day.
“This morning the federal ministry of health received the report of the ministerial task force team that went to support the Kano government in the COVID-19 response with commodity, ambulances, training,” he said.
“The visit turned out to be a game changer and improved the indices for Kano.
“Many of the health workers, over 50 have been infected at the time of the arrival of the team but after they conducted their training on infection, prevention and control, there was no report of infection among the health workers who have received training.
“With regard to the unexplained deaths that occurred in Kano, the team confirmed that a total of 979 deaths were recorded in eight municipal local areas of the state at the rate of 43 deaths per day.
“By the end of April, the number has started to reduce and have now settled to 11 deaths per day.
“The verbal autopsy revealed that 56 percent of the deaths had occurred at home while 38 were in the hospital.
“The investigation suggests that 50-60 may have been triggered by COVID-19 in the face of pre existing illness, a significant part was also triggered by inability to access routine care at the time due to the scare of COVID-19. Most of the fatalities were over 65 years old.”
The minister added that COVID-19 cases are on the rise as a result of community transmission which in turn has led to aggressive testing.
“Since our entry inter community transmission stage, we have seen more figures rising and has caused us to be more aggressive in tracking and testing and increasing our laboratory network capacity from two to 30 molecular laboratories with a plan to have at least one laboratory in every state, ” he said.
“This way, the turn around time will be reduced to a minimum and case finding will run smoothly.”