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Ganduje rejects PTF’s reports on Kano mystery deaths

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Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has rejected the final report of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 deployed to investigate the cause of strange deaths in the state.

Ganduje, who insisted that PTF’s findings submitted to the Federal Government lacked all symptoms of validity and reliability and could hardly pass any integrity test, claimed the report was deliberately orchestrated to mislead the public.

The governor spoke when the state epidemiology and technical committee, earlier commissioned to conduct a verbal autopsy on the mysterious deaths witnessed in the state, submitted its report at the Government House. He asserted that the report finally put paid to postulations of detractors who never wished Kano well.

The Minister of Health, Professor Osagie Ehanire, had disclosed the PTF’s findings, which indicated that 50 to 60 per cent of the deaths during the period were as a result of COVID-19.

But the presentation of a separate finding by Professor of Public health with Aminu Kano Teaching hospital (AKTH), Mukhtar Gadanya, postulated that only 255 (15.9 per cent) cases of the 1,774 cases in the state were likely occasioned by COVID-19.

Gadanya, who revealed that the state’s panel’s retrospective review fulfilled scientific methodology and guidelines stipulated by Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC), and casted doubt on the credibility of the Dr. Sani Gwarzo-led PTF report.

“A retrospective study of mortalities was conducted over approximately two weeks (April 27 to May 15, 2020) across eight metropolitan councils (Gwale, Fagge, Tarauni, Kumbotso, Ungogo, Nasarawa, Kano Municipal and Dala).

“The mortalities in the identified councils were line-listed, which made provision for the questionnaire to be administered house to house. The committee’s scientific approach of mortalities review covered for a period of one month (April 1 and May 2).”

According to him, the relatives of the deceased were interviewed by respective Ward Focal Persons (WFP) using a structured questionnaire into an electronic platform (Open Data Kit). “Data from the questionnaire were reviewed for categorisation into most probable causes of mortality by medical specialists using ‘two-symptom’ criteria (at least the presence fever and/or cough and shortness of breath).”

The don, who stated that various factors contributed to the mystery deaths, indicated other underlying factors like fever responsible for 1,004 cases, 172 cases died of cough, 59 cases shortness of breath, while various unidentified complications were responsible for rest.

Besides, Gadanya revealed that about 50 per cent of the mortality cases also suffered hypertension and diabetes.He said the result of the autopsy, which is rated 90 per cent credible, had all its variables validated by World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Department for International Development (DFID, NCDC, among others, who participated in the whole process.

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