News coming out of Kano state over the last few days have been truly sobering. The state run by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has been in the news for the last week, first for the governor of state sacking a public official who celebrated the death of the deceased chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, a trend that saw youths in Kano state make videos denying the existence and deadliness of the Coronavirus, and now an unprecedented spike in deaths of Kano citizens above the age of 70.
Lots of old people in their 70s or thereabout suddenly dropping dead in Kano within the last two weeks.
You don’t need a degree in Mathematics to know 1 plus 1 equals 2. pic.twitter.com/zdbdmfvprB
— Moonborn ? (@sugabelly) April 21, 2020
There are many things worrying about this development. The reports of a spike in deaths of elderly Kano state residents was not reported by the state ministry of health or the state’s center for disease control, but instead by the grave diggers who work in the cemeteries in the state. These grave diggers are currently not educated on how to handle corpses of people who died from COVID19 complications and because most these people were not tested, there is a genuine risk that the grave diggers have also been exposed to the virus.
Kano’s testing lab contaminated. 3 personnel tested positive, so they’d have to be taking samples to Abuja for now.
— Ayobami (@dondekojo) April 21, 2020
There are as yet unsubstantiated reports that workers in the Kano state testing labs have also tested positive for the virus, suggesting that the testing center itself is compromised. A furore on social media has forced the Kano state government to put out an official statement and begin investigations in the cause of death for the decesased in Kano state.
Kano State Ministry of Health @KNSMOH wishes to inform the public that it has received numerous reports of increase in mortality rate in Kano & a full investigation is being carried out especially in cemeteries, as well as the possible causes of the deaths.
— Peacock (@dawisu) April 20, 2020
We genuinely should be worried about the state of things in Kano state, especially because several generation of families in Kano state often live together in the same homes, and interact regularly. It will be incredibly difficult to encourage these families to self isolate to protect the elderly and immuno-compromised in their communities. We need a localized, education based strategy to work proactively to solve these problems.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.