General

50-60% of hitherto unexplained deaths in Kano may have been or triggered by COVID-19 says Dr. Ehanire

The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has stated that investigations suggest that 50-60% of the deaths that occurred in Kano may have been triggered or due to corona virus.

The Minister stated this at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Briefing where he revealed that the Federal Ministry of Health’s Team sent to Kano conducted series of verbal autopsy which revealed that up to 60% of the hitherto unexplained deaths in Kano may have been due to COVID-19.

Dr. Ehanire further said that the Ministerial Task team sent to Kano supported the State’s Response team with commodities, training, technical and confidence building measures, and disclosed also that the team was later extended to fact finding excursions to 5 other States in the North.

“With the observations and recommendations from the 3- Weeks assignment, the committee developed a Strategic Incident Action Plan to strengthen coordination capacity of the health workers and improve community engagement”, the Minister disclosed.  He further said that 150 Kano State health workers were infected at the time the Ministerial Task team to Kano arrived, “but as at when they left, there was no more report of an infection among health workers who had received training on infection prevention and control, thus restoring confidence”, he stated.

On the deaths in Kano in April, Dr. Ehanire disclosed that the Ministerial Task team confirmed from graveyards records that a total of 979 deaths were recorded in 8 municipal LGAs in the State, at a rate of 43 deaths per day with a peak in the second week of April.  “As at the beginning of May, death rates had reduced to 11 deaths per day as it used to be.  Verbal autopsy revealed that about 56% of deaths had occurred at home while 38% were in hospitals.”   The Minister therefore surmised that investigations have it that between 50-60% of the deaths may have been triggered or due to COVID-19 in the face of pre-existing ailments with most fatalities occurring in persons over the age of 65.

Further reports by the Honourable Minister at the briefing revealed that a 2 day Webinar was held on the effect of COVID-19 on health and care management of the elderly, conducted in collaboration with the West African Health Organization (WAHO): A critical look was made at various aspects of the impact of the disease on the elderly who are at a higher risk of infection.  The outcome, the Minister said, provides grounds for policy direction for care of the elderly during and beyond COVID-19 pandemic.

While updating further, Dr. Ehanire said that over 76,800 have been tested for corona virus with a record of 12,486 confirmed cases in 35 States and FCT. 3,959 persons have been successfully treated and discharged with sadly 454 deaths recorded.  He said that “since our entry into the community transmission phase, we have begun more aggressive tracking and testing with an increased laboratory network capacity from the initial 5 laboratories to presently 30 molecular laboratories which has reduced turnaround time and increased case finding”, with a plan for at least one laboratory in every State of the Federation. Management of infected cases is being reviewed and improved, with revised clinical guidelines to be published in accordance with learning’s and evolving dynamics associated with COVID-19 and global best practices.  This includes new discharge protocols, treatment for asymptomatic or symptomatic cases with various clinical conditions.

Source: Federal Ministry of Information and Culture