The Kano Concerned Citizens Initiative (KCCI), also known as Kungiyar Ma Su Kishin Kano, is not an exception to the bowel of suggestions on how the world might deal with COVID-19. The platform is putting seven key suggestions on the table of Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje via a statement to that effect. The suggestions are reproduced below as signed by Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, the leader of the elite hub in the state.
While acknowledging, in particular, the committees empaneled to help counter this dreaded menace, it is offering the following suggestions for containing what it calls “this important life-and-death matter”
1). Publicity and Public Awareness – Even though all media houses have COVID-19 as frontline discussion matter, there is need for more focus in the deployment of focal persons to each news organisation so that experts can provide guidance. The publicity arm of government’s effort should also establish (if it has not already done so) a Situation Room where each media house will have a representative so as to obtain authentic information and disseminate same, especially in this age of fake news;
2). Emergency Helplines – Linked to the matter of public awareness is the issue of increasing emergency helplines to provide the people the opportunity of obtaining genuine and factual information so as not to rely on quack experts who abound at these times. Such helplines shall also be very important in cases requiring rapid response to heighten case-searching surveillance and contact tracing. We suggest at least three helplines per local government, with more in the metropolitan areas;
3). Training of Medical Personnel – Government should (if not already done) establish a round-the-clock training protocol for medical and para-medical personnel with a view to rapid deployment as the need arises. Furthermore, it is a welcome development that Your Excellency has called out all retired health personnel to come out to volunteer in this onerous assignment. We urge them to answer this clarion and work diligently and selflessly for the benefit of the state;
4). Boundary Containment – KNSG has done very well in the proactive measure of boundary containment to prevent potential COVID-19 carriers from bringing the dreaded disease into our state. There is need, through carrot-and-stick measures as well as full deployment of traditional rulers to tighten the controls on all official and unofficial entry routes into the state. This is especially important on roads from Bauchi and Kaduna states, where COVID-19 has already made some inroads. Surveillance Teams should continue to be empowered to do the needful 24/7 by giving them Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) as well as items of welfare;
5). Welfare Packages – It may come to a situation (and may Allah protect us) where the whole state may be placed under quarantine as Lagos and the FCT have been. There is need at this juncture to plan ahead and devise life-saving adequate welfare packages especially for the less privileged and the vulnerable in the society. Ramadan style food distribution (supported by volunteers and funded by philanthropists) will go a long way in ameliorating the immediate problem of anticipated food shortages for those who have to go out daily for survival. Direct delivery of water by trucks to all nooks and corners will also supplement this. Masu Unguwanni will play a key role in this matter.
6). Economic Impact Research – It is time for all of us, led by the KNSG, to immediately commence research and thorough analysis on the potential social and economic impacts (short, medium and long term) of COVID-19 on our agriculture, trade, commerce and industry which our state depends upon for its livelihood. Such research will go a long way in enabling Kano State plan mitigating measures of the expected negative consequences;
7). Your Excellency, we urge you most respectfully to pursue all available avenues to get assistance for Kano State from the Federal Government and all other international or local donors to help us mitigate this coming calamity;
While believing that the suggestions from the KCCI are not exhaustive, and are in no way pre-emptive of all the efforts being put in place by the KNSG, KCCI believes they would go a long way if all or most have and/or are being done. KCCI is pledging its availability to continue to offer advice and provide needed expertise in areas that it could assist, said the statement addressed to the governor.