The Kano State COVID-19 response team says it will rely on ‘verbal autopsy’ while probing the cause of death of the hundreds of people that have died mysteriously in the state in the last one week.
Reports emanating from Kano indicates that over 600 persons have died of a strange ailment in the past seven days, including prominent residents.
The Commissioner of Information in the state, Mallam Muhammad Garba, said investigation into the mysterious deaths was still ongoing but preliminary report from the Ministry of Health indicated that the deaths were not connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During an interview on Channels TV on Monday, the Coordinator, Technical Response Team, Covid-19, Dr. Tijani Hussaini said the government would rely on verbal method to determine if the cause of the mysterious deaths.
According to Punch, Hussaini said Kano, being a predominantly Muslim state, usually buries its dead almost immediately which, therefore, makes it nearly impossible to determine the cause of death of a person.
“In medical practice, there is what you call verbal autopsy. What we are doing is going back in history to see if we can make connections.
“What we are doing is verbal autopsy to ensure that we get to the root of this seemingly increasing death rate in Kano.
“Investigations will inform decision making and the Kano State Government will take it seriously,” Hussaini said.
He said the state government also received reports from social media about the mysterious deaths but the state lacked records of normal death rates in the state and so there was no baseline with which to compare the recent deaths. He added:
“We have instituted several measures to ensure that we get to the bottom of this. As I speak to you, our data collectors are out in the field trying to find out, get data on the symptoms that led to the death of these people.
“Remember that Kano is a traditional Muslim place and usually autopsies are not conducted. We do not have burial registers and so it is difficult to say categorically that there is an increase in the number of deaths.”
The coordinator said the probe was being conducted in conjunction with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other partners.
“You hardly find families taking their dead for autopsy even when they die in hospitals and this is the traditional practice in Kano and many other states in northern Nigeria. Remember that Islamic rites demand that you bury your dead as early as possible.
“And a lot of these deaths do not occur in facilities or hospitals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje described the current situtation in Kano State as “bad and scary”, and lamented that the state is in serious problem because of negligence by the Federal Government.