Health experts posted to Upper West Region as 44 persons die from Meningitis
Dr Hafiz Bin Salih - Upper West Regional Minister
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has dispatched a team of health experts to the Upper West Region to fight the increasing number of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) cases in the area.
This follows a rise in the number of CSM cases from 214 to 258, claiming over 44 lives already.
Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih who disclosed these in an interview yesterday said one of the experts arrived from Accra on Thursday, April, 16,2020, while two others are expected in the region on Friday, April 17, 2020.
“With regards to CSM, there are 258 confirmed cases with 40 deaths. As I have always indicated, we have enough medication to administer to patients. So, what we have to continue doing is to educate people to report early to the health facilities. We have realized that this is the major cause of the deaths. They report late when all hope is lost. But, if they report early, the situation can be managed.”
“The pleasant thing is that having reported the issue to the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service and the Minister of Health, they have sent an expert to come to the Upper West Region to assess the CSM situation in the Region. I am also reliably informed by the Director-General that, two other experts will be coming so that together we will study the situation and recommend immediate measures that we could implement to bring the issue to an end,” he noted.
Last week, the GHS commenced an audit of the CSM related deaths in the Upper West Region.
The outcome of the audit will enable the Ghana Health Service to review treatment protocols on the endemic to prevent the recurrence of the high deaths in the region.
The Regional Health Directorate has cited the Nadowli Kaleo District and the Nandom Municipality as the hardest-hit areas so far.
Meningitis can lead to serious long-term consequences such as deafness, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, or cognitive deficits, especially if not treated quickly.
In 2015, meningitis occurred in about 8.7 million people worldwide resulting in the death of 379,000 deaths.
Residents fail to adhere to safety measures
The Upper West Regional Director of health services, Dr. Osei Kuffuor Afreh has also expressed worry over the failure of most residents in the Upper West Region to adhere to safety protocols to help reduce meningitis in the area.
“When we mention social distancing, it should also work for meningitis, but unfortunately from the field visits that we have conducted, we realised that people are not adhering to social distancing. People are still gathering at night, people are still grouping to do their normal things. So, the only disadvantage we have is that we have not been able to quarantine anybody for meningitis.”
Pay attention to Meningitis outbreak in Upper West Region – Parliament to Health Ministry
The Ministry of Health has also been asked to pay attention to the growing number of cases of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in the Upper West Region.
Presenting a statement in Parliament, to rally support for enhanced action, the Wa Central Legislator, Rashid Pelpuo called for the immediate application of known remedies to halt the havoc it is causing in that part of the country.
“Currently there is an infectious disease in the Wa Central Constituency as well as in the Upper West Region as a whole. I wish to call on the Ministry of Health and the government to act with dispatch in providing immediately and adequately the essential grants needed, equipment and appropriate personnel to tackle this thriving danger. This is a crucial time and especially because CSM is a very infectious disease but may be grossed over by the authorities and the people themselves given the present situation we find ourselves,” he espoused.