As part of the campaign to improve compliance with Covid-19 prevention guidelines, Malam Nasir El-Rufai recently drew attention to the high cost the state is incurring in treating Covid-19 patients. While the state has an obligation to treat people that are infected during a pandemic, it is in the interest of public health, as well as being fiscally sound, to ensure that most citizens are protected from catching the virus in the first place.
Conscious of the need to avert mass infection, the Kaduna State Government anchored the first phase of its Covid-19 containment strategy on imposing restrictions on movement and gatherings, pursuant to invoking the provisions of the Quarantine Act. The second phase is based on putting citizen action at the heart of Covid-19 containment through the emphasis on personal responsibility that is at the heart of the FORWARD campaign.
This emphasis on Covid-19 prevention was part of the core of Malam Nasir El-Rufai’s address to the meeting of the Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council on Monday, 7th September 2020. However, it is the cost of treating each Covid-19 patient the governor mentioned in making the case for prevention that has attracted attention.
As the agency leading the state government’s management of Covid-19 response, the Ministry of Health availed the governor the cost the state government is incurring in treating our citizens who become infected with Covid-19. These costs range around N400,000 per patient on average. Thus far, the state has not had to provide prolonged critical care like extended use of ventilators or other ICU services for any of the patients.
Since March 2020, the state has vastly expanded treatment capacity. This began with upgrading the then sole Infectious Diseases Control Centre in Kakuri, and acquiring and upgrading additional facilities in Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria to vastly increase available bed space. The state is also building a new 136-bed treatment centre in Kaduna. From zero testing labs in March 2020, the state now has three molecular labs, one of which is private. The other two are in the Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital, Kaduna, and Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika.
Kaduna State also acquired 10,000 test kits for its GeneXpert machines. The government also used a mobile testing vehicle that was temporarily donated to the state to move around the local government areas for enhanced community testing. On the personnel side, it has paid the agreed incentives for its frontline health workers and continues to provide decent care in its treatment centres.
Therefore, the cost components include material and personnel costs for diagnosis and treatment, and the healthcare infrastructure that supports the capacity to trace, test and treat.
Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni
Commissioner of Health
13th September 2020