An audio message from a woman in Abuja alleging her son-in-law died in Kano from a disease suspected to be COVID-19 due to slow response by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the COVID-19 rapid response unit in Kano state, has gone viral.
The woman, who identified herself as Salman Ahmed, said her son-in-law was first admitted at a clinic before being transferred to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital where he eventually died.
According to the woman’s narration, she was contacted by her daughter from Kano who said her husband had developed a high fever.
The symptoms subsided but suddenly got worse again after the son-in-law lost his ability to speak.
She suspected it was COVID-19 and started calling the NCDC hotlines. She couldn’t reach the Kano centre, but got through to the Abuja branch.
However, she couldn’t get help before her son-in-law died at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.
“What will happen to my children, my daughter and my grandchildren when there is no NCDC in Kano?” she said in the viral audio.
After the audio went viral, officials of the NCDC visited the dead man’s family home on Saturday to take samples for COVID-19 testing.
The man’s wife, who spoke to Channels Television, has been asked to go into self-isolation alongside five of her children after the NCDC officials visited her home.
“If they had come earlier than now, if they had responded to our calls, my husband would probably have been alive but now that it’s too late they finally came to say they want to save our lives,” the woman said.
She also said her neighbours should be advised to isolate themselves because they interact a lot with her husband.
“Also the International Clinic should be immediately looked into because he was first admitted there,” she said.
When contacted, the Kano state COVID-19 rapid response team confirmed that authorities at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital are investigating the circumstances behind the man’s death.
In a Whatsapp chat with our correspondent in Kano, the Deputy Coordinator of the response team, Sabitu Shu’aibu, explained that they had not been able to respond to calls within the last three days because the NCDC is yet to supply them with testing facilities.
According to him, the COVID-19 hotlines that respond to emergency calls have not been operational in the last three days due to the closure of the Kano laboratory as a result of a lack of sample collection commodities.
Dr. Sabitu, however, gave the assurance that the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, as well as Nasarawa and Murtala Muhammad hospitals, would be ready for sample collection on Sunday.
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