Kano elders bemoan poor handling of COVID-19 pandemic

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By Our Reporter

A group “Kano against COVID-19” has expressed concern over the on- going fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic in the state.

In a press statement signed by elders such as the former NRC presidential candidate, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, Mr. A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, Professor Auwalu Hamisu Yadudu, Professor Jibrin Ibrahim and Mrs Maryam Uwais, among others on Friday, the group observed that the situation in the state was becoming worrisome.

The elders observed that while some states, like Lagos, had exhibited much greater capability and professionalism in dealing with the crisis, the situation in Kano state has been quite worrisome.

“It was obvious that there was inadequate preparation at the state level and control measures were ineffective. There was lack of clear messaging to the citizens. Discordant tunes were also coming from some religious and community leaders expressing doubts about the existence of the disease.

“The lockdown subsequently introduced by the state authorities was not vigorously enforced even after the federal authorities extended the period.

There was seeming dissonance in the institutional framework for the coordination of the State COVID-19 control efforts, including crisis within the Task Force, after some of its members became infected. The only testing facility at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) was temporarily closed after being contaminated”

The elders said that it was in this context that they came together in a citizen initiative – Kano Against COVID-19, to determine how best to assist in contributing to an effective strategy for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in Kano.

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They implored the state government, traditional rulers, religious leaders and the media, to work towards improving public enlightenment on combating the epidemic.

According to them, “Currently, the continuation of congregational prayers in some mosques, playing of football and other sports, mass attendance of burials and mourning scenarios all indicate a very poor understanding of social distancing, which must be urgently addressed.

“Working with stakeholders to popularize the advisory delivered by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) on the interment of possible victims of COVID-19 pandemic (which recommends safer and Islamically legitimate ways of washing, shrouding carrying out Janazah prayers for suspected COVID-19 victims), the Initiative would support enforcement efforts, which also complies with the NCDC guidelines for burials.

“It is strongly recommended that attendance at funerals (Salatul Janazah and burial) for all deceased (COVID-19 and Non-COVID-19) during the period of the pandemic should not be encouraged by all people, due to the high potential for COVID-19 infection.”

“Most medical centres in the state have stopped admitting patients for non-COVID-19 infections and a system of triage, sorting and provision of telemedicine facilities should be introduced urgently to ensure medical care for all sick persons. Urgent measures to provide for the welfare of advocacy for health care workers- comprising remuneration, accommodation, adequate protection and health insurance”, they recommended.

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