COVID-19: Rancour within Kano Task Force, as NCDC Arrives to Monitor Cases

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COVID-19, Rancour, Kano Task Force, NCDC Arrives, Monitor Cases
NCDC DG received at the Government House in Kano Monday evening

Kano State on Monday registered 23 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the state ministry of health has said in a late evening tweet.
The state now has 59 officially recorded cases in all as of the time this report was filed.
Meanwhile, worried by the rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases coming out Kano, a delegation from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) led by the Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, arrived the state capital Monday evening to commence a monitoring process of the way the state has so far handled the spreading COVID-19 cases in the state.
A source at NCDC confided in Judicial Sketch that there have been complaints going on within the medical community in the state that political considerations have been interfering with professional approaches to the management of the pandemic, and as experts in the field of epidemiology get frustrated,  novices have taken over.
For instance, strategic meetings of the state Task Force on COVID-19 as well as Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) were not held unless the daughter of the state governor, Amina Umar Ganduje was present, and if she was late, meetings had to be postponed till she arrived.
Amina is a public health physician with Masters in public health (in Field Epidemiology) which she obtained from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria while she was concurrently doing her residency training in Community Medicine in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano 2018.
NCDC was particularly concerned that professionals in the field of epidemiology have been sidelined while Amina rode over the activities of the committees saddled with the management of a pandemic that threatens the lives of over ten million people in Kano State.
Our source said NCDC does not believe in an effort that lacks think-tank, and Kano State has provided a classical example of haphazard approach.
“COVID-19 Rapid Respond Team is not functional. All the key people at the various health institutions in the state were not utilized. Their resources were not tapped into. Management of crises of this nature does not consider social and economic status. It is the knowledge and capability that are supposed to be considered always”, he explained.
“NCDC will now be the eyes of the FG in Kano. There is no way meetings could be skipped now because there has to be reports to the headquarters. Kano has become problematic. NCDC intends to be part of every activity, and would have its own random confirmation procedure that would not allowed to get compromised”, he said further.
Another source in the Task Force told our reporter that “the governor’s daughter has gone into isolation but she still reins supreme, overriding the opinions of even the professors. The health commissioner has to run every decision through her before any final stance could be taken. In short, she is the de-facto health commissioner”, he said.
In the same vein, the chief press secretary to the state governor, Mr Abba Anwar has said in a statement he issued Monday night that NCDC director-general has pledged his support to the state government in its effort to arrest the spread COVID-19.
He quoted the DG as saying, “For us to succeed at the national level, in this response, states also need to succeed. We will sit down tomorrow before we leave for Abuja, with the state and make a Plan on how to forge ahead,” he discloses.”
Abba also quoted the state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to have said “All the index cases we have are within the metropolitan local governments. We can therefore say, community transmission is not there. So it could be true to say we need more Testing Centres. There is a need to increase our capacity for testing our suspected cases…”
In the meantime, there have been insinuations that the federal government may take over the management of the pandemic in the state in order to forestall any eventuality that could be caused by the politicization of the response efforts.

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