Some health associations in the country on Saturday deplored the decision of the Kano State government to ease the total lockdown in the state without regard for the mysterious deaths in the state.
They said the governor’s action smacked of politics.
Speaking to The Nation, the President of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, said: “the whole dimension of COVID-19 management has been drifting gradually from medical interventions to political power play, and we are beginning to feel that the stakeholders are using this COVID-19 to settle scores, etc.
“Otherwise the lockdown in Kano was instituted in good faith. In fact, it is either the people there do not understand the nature of the disease we are dealing with or they just want to do things differently for political expediencies.
“The very first time this disease had the opportunity of spreading very much in Kano was when the lockdown was lifted – I think some days to the beginning of the fast. The government said that everybody should go to the market and shop.
“As much as I want to speak medically, I think medical stand in itself cannot be the only solution to the problem in Kano. I would have suggested that the state government synchronises and harmonises its position with the federal government on whatever they are doing to curtail the spread of this disease.
Sokomba added: “Just recently, the Kano State government was crying out that it had been abandoned. I will suggest that whatever the Governor is doing he should ensure that it is harmonised with whatever the Federal Government has put in place and provide palliatives. They don’t have to lift the curfew.
In a separate interview, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduyile, said: “I think we still have a lot of confusion in Kano State because it looks as if the rate of infection has gone far beyond the process of containment and management.
“I have even heard that many of their doctors and health workers have been infected and they are not likely to be available to treat.
“I think this call for a deeper scrutiny. It seems that they may be overwhelmed in a very short while and I can tell you that this may not be the best as it is for Kano state. The rate of transmission is growing so exponentially and we really need to do a lot to be able to contain it.
“As a doctor, I tend not to look at it from a political aspect, but I know that our political leaders are not fully looking at the scientific implications of a lot of decisions and that is quite unfortunate. The surge in the number of cases is already there but we still don’t know the extent. I can say that it is still not a good sign.”
In a phone conversation, Dr. Bassey Enya, the President of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), said: “Relaxing of the lockdown becomes a conflict between politics and professional responsibility, and once there is a conflict between politics and professional responsibility, the professional responsibility should take preeminence over politics.
“What is supposed to have informed the Governor of Kano state to relax the lockdown is when they have a plateau after 14 days and they see noticeable decline in the number of confirmed cases being reported. But that has not happened. Since that has not happened, easing the lockdown becomes a political decision not a technical or professional decision.
“With the current situation, it becomes the responsibility of the state to provide food for the people; you do not relax the lock down especially now that we have not attained the peak of the outbreak.
“Some of the concerns are – first, with the easing of the lockdown will there be social distancing? The answer is no. If you go to the market you will see how people cluster there. Secondly, with the easing of the lockdown, has government provided facilities, especially water in strategic places for people to wash their hands?
The answer is still no. Thirdly, with the lockdown, has government provided face masks for everybody to wear in public places? The answer again is no.
“Since the answers are no, you can almost guess that what will happen is a resultant increase in the number of cases we are going to see in coming days in Kano state, which is not healthy for the management of this pandemic.”