From left: Hamidu Adakurugu, Director of Legal Affairs, MoH, Dr Asiedu Bekoe, Dr Victor Asare Bampoe and Dr Sally-Ann Ohene, Disease Prevention and Control Officer, WHO, at the press briefing.
The Volta Region has recorded seven suspected cases of meningitis, Dr Yaw Ofori-Yeboah, deputy director, Public Health of the Volta Regional Health Directorate, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Tuesday.
He said samples of all the cases have been sent for laboratory investigations, whilst the patients are receiving treatment at health facilities in the region.
Dr Ofori-Yeboah said the cases were from Sogakope, Keta, Ketu-North, Krachi-West and Nkwanta South.
He said reports indicate that the result of the case from Sogakope is negative, adding that the region’s surveillance system is working, and there is no cause for alarm.
He said the surveillance system is being strengthened to be more sensitive and called for public support.
Dr Ofori-Yeboah said standard operation guidelines have been given to health facilities for the management of potential cases.
He said the region’s public health management committee has begun a public campaign on the disease to let the public know its symptoms and the need to practise good personal hygiene.
Mr Matthew Draffor, Volta regional public health surveillance officer, urged the public to send all sick persons to nearby health facilities for early detection and treatment.
The northern part of Ghana is in the meningitis zone, but some districts and communities outside the zone have reported cases in a recent outbreak.
At least 32 people in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Northern regions reportedly died having suffered from pneumococcal meningitis.
Until now, cerebro-spinal meningitis was the only known meningitis variant in the country and it occurs mainly in the northern parts of the country.
WHO Steps In
However, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has started receiving support from the international community, particularly the World Health Organisation (WHO), in the containment of the meningitis outbreak in some parts of the country.
The WHO is providing technical support and a number of laboratory equipment, including rapid diagnostics test kits (RDTs) for diagnosing suspected cases of meningitis.
The MoH is also expected to receive more of the RTDs from the AFRO head office, which is the leading agency in the country’s preparedness and response to meningitis outbreak.
Dr Sally-Ann Ohene, disease prevention and control officer at the WHO, speaking at a press conference on the disease outbreak, said the WHO will host health officials of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the MoH to review the national response and findings of the national team.
Dr Ohene said what is needed now is the increase in public education on the disease “so should people report early to the health facilities so they can effectively be treated to avoid fatalities.”
The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC)-Atlanta has also provided primers for the confirmatory testing of samples of suspected meningitis cases in the country.
The country is currently experiencing increasing cases of pneumococcal meningitis in the Brong Ahafo, Northern and parts of the Ashanti regions, with 36 deaths recorded from 176 reported cases.
Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, deputy director of Public Health and Head of Surveillance at the GHS, briefing the press on the burden of the disease outbreak, said the highest case loads are in Wenchi, Tain, Techiman Municipal and Techiman North.
He, however, said the cases in Bole District in the Northern Region have reduced markedly, with the affected districts on high alert.
“Regional and national response have been good in the area of community and facility surveillance, case management, but challenged by inadequate laboratory support,” he said.
Dr Bekoe said government has released an amount of GH¢150,000 and 1,500 vials of medication to the affected areas to address the outbreak.
He also encouraged the public to report symptoms of headache, neck pain, neck stiffness and convulsion to the hospital for free treatment.
He also advised to public to avoid overcrowding, while drinking a lot of water, improving their ventilation, especially during this dry season.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri with additional report from GNA