Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Borno State government has finally cleared its doubt about the management of the COVID-19 index case and eventual death of the first patient of the novel virus on April 18.
Scores of residents have criticised the management of the first COVID-19 patient, a nurse who had no travel history, and his eventual death at a public hospital in Maiduguri.
Gov Babagana Zulum in a state broadcast on April 20 announced the constitution of an investigative committee to ascertain the circumstances leading to the emergence of the first COVID-19 patient and the roles of medical officials in the management of the case.
Presenting the report to the state governor, Chairman of the investigative committee, Prof. Isa Matte disclosed that the team invited all persons relevant to the index case for interaction.
He said the committee also visited Pulka town, some 97 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, where the deceased was first receiving treatment before he was referred to a public hospital in the state capital. He said the committee interacted with staff of Medecine Sans Frontiers (MSF) Spain or Doctors Without Borders’ managing the clinic as well as community leaders and stake holders.
“From all the available evidence we received from serious investigations, it has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Babagana Mohammad (the index case) died of COVID- 19,” the committee chairman disclosed.
He explained that investigations show the deceased was being treated of some ailments at the MSF clinic at Pulka when he first became sick early April.
He said the patient was however later transfered to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) Maiduguri in a commercial bus instead of ambulance “at a time he was having severe complications of coughing, chest pain ,high body temperature, fever and difficulty in breathing.”
Prof Matte said the teaching hospital later discovered the patient has already infected 21 health workers and four of his relatives with coronavirus, as well as one of his room mates at the hospital who Aldo tested positive. He said the committee has come up with some recommendations to help contain the spread of the virus or other diseases in the state in future
The governor, represented by his deputy Umar Kadafur commended the committee for doing a good job. He assured them that the state government will study the report and recommendations carefully.