Kano shooting leaves health community 'dumbfounded'
Category: News Written by Judd-Leonard Okafor
Nigeria’s health community is “dumbfounded” by Friday’s shooting to death of nearly a dozen health workers on polio immunisation duty in Kano.
Minister of state for health Muhammad Ali Pate, who chairs the presidential taskforce on polio eradication, called the two separate shootings a “dastardly act of cowardice” and urged for “large-scale investigation” to find the shooters.
“We are invariably left dumbfounded by this dastardly act of cowardice that has not spared the very people who have paid the ultimate price because of their commitment to humanity and the love of their profession.”
Nigerian Medical Association said it was “deeply shocked and pained.”
National Primary Health Care Development Agency, which coordinates vaccination nationwide, was still searching for a “clearer picture” hours after the shooting, according to its officials.
Saturday morning, it condoled with the “families of these fallen heroes and heroines.
The agency’s executive director, Dr Ado Muhammad said: “As a programme we remain undeterred and resolute in our determination to ensure the interruption of wild polio virus and also the provision of basic health services for all in Nigeria.
“We salute the reaffirmed commitment of health workers all over the country as they resolve to continue to provide professional service aimed at improving our health outcomes,” he added.
The killings in the local government areas of Nasarawa and Taurani disrupted three days of planned vaccination in Kano.
They are the latest in a long-standing cycle of violence in states as Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, and Kano, said Pate.
“Our nation mourns the demise of these nine women who toiled night and day to ensure that our children receive vaccines that would protect them from diseases such as polio, measles, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis”
He noted the attack was an affront to culture and civility but the human tragedy would not deter efforts to eradicate polio.
“We are encouraged by words from the frontline workers who have re-stated their resolve to remain undeterred by [Friday’s] violence. These nine health workers and those injured are our heroes in the fight against maternal and child mortality in the country.”
Nigerian Medical Association expressed “deep pain and shock” at what it called a “villainous act of murder coming at a time Nigeria is struggling very hard to drop her gold medal in polio, being one of three remaining countries where polio is endemic,” according to NMA president, Dr Osahon Enabulele.
The slain women have been labelled “heroes” in the fight to eradicate polio in Nigeria.