No Meningitis Outbreak in Ghana – GHS
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has refuted claims that there is a meningitis outbreak in the country.
According to the Service, the deaths of some students from meningitis in recent weeks are isolated cases that do not constitute an outbreak.
The Director for Public Health at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Badu Sarkodie in a Citi News interview said that the service has vaccines for meningitis in stock but currently the incidents reported do not indicate an outbreak.
“For meningitis, we have not reached the situation to apply the vaccine. We have the vaccine, but to give it, we have to declare an outbreak first. There is a criterion for outbreak declaration and we haven’t reached there yet,” he said.
A preliminary report by a medical team at the Damongo District Hospital earlier this week, indicated that the death of a student at Damongo Senior High School in the West Gonja District of the Northern Region, was caused by non-communicable meningitis.
The Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Charity Sarpong, also this week confirmed that, a second-year science student of Koforidua Technical School, died from Meningitis.
A student of Tempane Senior High School in the Garu-Tempane district of the Upper East Region, was also on Saturday confirmed dead of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CMS).
These have raised concerns over a possible outbreak of the disease after a similar development at the Kumasi Academy in the Ashanti Region, although early medical reports indicate that the students were infected with H1N1 influenza Type A.
Four students have so far died from this strain of influenza within the last month.
The Ghana Health Service has initiated moves, together with the World Health Organization, to procure vaccines for the strain of influenza.
“What we are bringing is vaccine not for meningitis, but the H1N1 influenza and the target is the most vulnerable and those at risk. They are the entire student population in the affected school together with their teaching and non-teaching staff. We will also target the frontline health workers and other people whose activities bring them into contact with those affected,” Dr. Sarkodie said.