CSM ravages Upper West; over 40 dead
Ghanaians all over the country are expressing concerns over the upsurge of the Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in the Northern regions. In President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s 8th address on Ghana’s preparedness to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, indicated that over 40 deaths had been recorded so far.
Though the President didn’t give the number of people infected with the disease at the moment, reports indicate that about 400 people are currently battling with the disease.
As of April 7, reports had it that the total number of deaths was 33, while 214 patients were receiving treatment. For 40 people to have died within the short period, the 400 infections have come as a surprise.
At the time when the death toll stood at 33, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) had disclosed that the outbreak of Meningitis, which started in the Upper West Region, was caused by a new strain of bacteria that has no vaccine.
The GHS, however, said even though there is no vaccine for this strain causing the outbreak, there is an effective treatment upon early reporting and initiation of the said treatment.
Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, Upper West Regional Minister, also affirmed the assertion of the GHS by indicating that the deaths were not because there was no medicine.
He said there was more than enough medicine to take care of CSM patients in the Upper West Region.
He said: “The primary contributory factor to the deaths that we have recorded in the region was because patients report late to our health facilities.”
Therefore, the President, in his address, charged inhabitants of the three Northern regions to report cases of CSM on time, as that could help bring the death toll under control.
“Early reporting is what is required, and I implore everybody to heed this call,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The President also indicated in his address that the CSM outbreak reaffirms the need for ready access to infectious diseases control centres.
He said his government would establish three infectious diseases control centres for each of the zones of Ghana, i.e. Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern, with the overall objective of setting up a Ghana Centre for Disease Control.
“We will establish three infectious disease control centres for each of the zones of our country, i.e. Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern, with the overall objective of setting up a Ghana Centre for Disease Control. The recent, tragic CSM outbreak, with over 40, deaths, has reaffirmed the need for ready access to such infectious disease control centres, even though, in our time, nobody should die of the disease.”
President Akufo-Addo said: “We shall make these investments in our healthcare system, not because it is going to be easy, but because it is self-evidently necessary to serve the needs of 21st Century Ghana.”
He added that the three Development Authorities, Zongo Development Fund, and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies would be tasked to place health infrastructure amongst their priorities in the coming years.
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