The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) said on Monday that a total of 979 deaths were recorded in April in Kano, during what was popularly known as Kano mysterious deaths.
The Task Force, however, revealed during its daily briefing on Monday that 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the mysterious deaths were due to COVID-19, though with pre-existing ailments.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire while giving the reports of the Ministerial Task Team that went to Kano to support the COVID-19 response, said the 979 deaths were recorded in eight municipal local government areas in the state at a rate of 43 deaths per day, with a peak in the second week of April.
The minister said: “This morning, the Federal Ministry of Health received the report of the Ministerial Task Team that went to Kano to support the COVID-19 response with commodities, training, technical and confidence-building measures. The visit was extended to fact-finding excursions to offer support to five other states.
“With the observations and recommendations from the three-week assignment, the committee developed a Strategic Incident Action Plan to strengthen the coordination capacity of the health workers and improve community engagement in line with our response plan.
“While over 150 health workers had been infected at the time of their arrival, there was no report of infection among health workers who had received training on infection prevention and control, thus restoring confidence. The intervention of the ministerial task force has been a game-changer for Kano and some northern states.
“With regard to unexplained deaths in Kano which occurred in April, the team confirmed from graveyard records, that a total of 979 deaths were recorded in eight municipal LGAs in the state at a rate of 43 deaths per day, with a peak in the second week of April. By the beginning of May, the death rate had reduced to the 11 deaths per day it used to be. The verbal autopsy revealed that about 56 per cent of deaths had occurred at home while 38 per cent were in a hospital.
“With circumstantial evidence as all to go by, investigation suggests that between 50-60 per cent of the deaths may have been triggered by or due to COVID-19, in the face of pre-existing ailments. Most fatalities were over 65 years of age.”
He pointed out that Nigeria has tested over 76,800 persons with the first 100 days of COVID-19; recorded 12,486 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 35 States and FCT, and successfully treated and discharged 3,959 persons.
Sadly, he said the country has lost 354 Nigerians, most of whom had underlying illnesses.
On the response activities, he said the response during the first 100 days has been focused and targeted; adding that at the initial phase it has been targeted on screening travellers at points of entry, testing for virus importation, tracing their contacts and isolating positive cases.
He said: “Since our entry into the community transmission phase, we have begun more aggressive tracking and testing and increased our laboratory network capacity from five to presently 30 molecular laboratories, with a plan for at least one laboratory in every state. This way, turnaround time is reduced to a minimum and case finding and management will run smoothly.
“Management of infected cases is being reviewed and improved, with revised Clinical Guidelines to be published in accordance with the learnings and evolving dynamics associated with COVID-19 and global best practices. This includes new discharge protocols, treatment regimen for asymptomatic or symptomatic cases with various clinical conditions. We continue to collaborate with States and the FCT with regard to their management of cases with the provision of commodities, training and other technical support where needed.”
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