By Yakubu Salisu
According to official data obtained from the Kano State Primary Healthcare Management Board (KSPHCMB), the number of Covid-19 vaccine distributed to Gwale Local Government Area (LGA) as of August 2022 stands at 1,046,038 Covid-19 vaccine while Kumbotso LGA received and 1,341,852.
The vaccine types administered in the LGAs were Astrazeneca, Oxford, and Johnson and Pfizer.
Investigation revealed that Gwale and Kumbotso LGAs have a total number of 47 and 39 vaccine centres scattered across communities and the vaccines were massively administered in all of them.
Despite the mass vaccination exercise embarked by the Kano State Government targeting 3.4 million residents in the state, investigation has revealed that PWDs are missing in the records of vaccinated persons. This is because no provision has been made to ensure PWDs are captured in the vaccination process.
An official of the KSPHCMB who did not want his name mentioned; revealed that, no any special arrangement was made with regards to persons with disabilities.
“There was no any arrangement made to attend to persons with disabilities. The vaccines are only provided at the designated centres where people go get it.
“We just administer the vaccines to anyone who presents himself or herself but there is no provision for special centres for the PwD Communities, as such we do not have data to show how many PwDs got vaccinated,” added. (attach he behind added)
A reality check at some of the Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs) and vaccination Centres at Aisami Health Clinic, Kabuga, Bayero University Kano Staff Clinic, Dorayi and Diso Health Post in Gwale LGA revealed that, there is no column neither in the Covid-19 register nor the vaccine cards/certificates issued to vaccinated persons that shows records of PWDs captured.
The only information visible on the Covid-19 vaccination card under the basic information section are; name, age, sex, state, LGA, ward, settlement and phone number.
No provision was made for ‘type of disability’ which further confirms that the no records for PWDs that were vaccinated.
Kabuga PHC PC: Yakubu Salisu
Covid-19 Register – Gwale LGA PC: Yakubu Salisu
Also, investigation carried out in 5 vaccination centers; Danjirima Health Post, Danbare, Gwazaye Health Post, Danbare, Dangwauro Health Post Unguwar Rimi, Maikalwa Health Clinic, and Naibawa Health Clinic in Kumbotso showed the same trend.
It was also discovered that the Bar-code that is usually affixed at the back fold of the vaccination card too does not have provision for PWD.
At a particular vaccination center in Kumbotso, Maikalwa Health Clinic, a visually impaired person was observed trying to get vaccinated. He struggled to explain why he must be attended to with urgency because he has other health challenges. The health workers insisted that he must follow due process, this reporter intervened and he got vaccinated but no record of his disability was captured.
Najib Magashi, the officer in-charge of recording details in one of the centres in Gwale LGA disclosed that generally people coming for the vaccine are few and there is no record for PWDs.
He said, the register has no special provision to distinguish persons coming for the vaccine, the same above information is requested from everyone who presents him or herself. “Personally, I have not recorded any PWD because on a general note, people are not turning up. Even if PWDs come, we are not required to do anything aside the normal information which you have seen on the card.
“We only ask for their name, age, sex, state, LGA, ward, settlement and phone number.”
The State Chairman, Kano State Association of People with Special Needs, Yahya A. Yahaya also confirmed that most of their members have not been captured in the Covid-19 Vaccination exercise in the State.
Covid-19 Vaccination card PC: Yakubu Salisu
According to him, authorities in the state failed to consider their conditions while planning how, who, and where to administer the vaccine which has made it difficult for PWDs in the state to get vaccinated.
“You know we are people with special needs, most of us find it difficult to go to public places or where there could be crowd or rowdiness.
“Some of our members need support to get to where they need to go to and there is the fear of stigmatization and getting manhandled or trampled upon by able bodied persons in such places.
“I got vaccinated because of the level of my awareness but I tell you majority didn’t even attempt going for it due to the fear I mentioned,” he added.
Chairman, Kano State Association of People with Special Needs, Yahya A. Yahaya
Also, Bilkisu Ado Zango, a member of the PWDs in Kano decried government’s attitude towards them in the ongoing vaccination exercise describing it a ‘neglect’ which has caused a setback in the exercise.
Bilkisu Ado Zango, a PwDs advocate
“By not arranging how our people can easily get the vaccine, they have left out a portion of the public. A very few of us who are working were opportune to get the vaccine due to instructions mandating public workers to take the vaccine shots but a large number of our community are left out.
“Going by statistics published, you will find nothing like records for PWDs. “It is a gap which must be addressed.”
Dr. Abdulrashid Muhammad, a medical health consultant in Kano said: “Probably, the rush to overcome the wide spread of the Covid-19 virus at the beginning is responsible for government’s failure to plan on how to include the PWDs in the vaccination process.
“As the name implies, the PWDs are people already suffering from health issues which have already left them with physical challenges, their health is already compromised.
“A huge number of the PWDs are of low socio-economic status who finds it difficult to access quality health care, making them vulnerable to diseases. Failure to design a plan to include them in the vaccination process is like undoing efforts to keep the state safe.
“These people are the commoners, you see them on the streets, in the neighborhood for instance begging and many are homeless and come in contact with all sorts of people that expose them to contacting the virus and even other diseases.
“So, you see, it is very important to ensure they are vaccinated and recorded to protect them and the larger society”, he explained.
This report is supported by the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) and the John D Catherine and MacArthur Foundation.