The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has issued a meningitis alert to its members, calling on all pharmacists to be on the alert to help early detection of the disease and treatment of the infection.
A circular sent to all PSGH members and signed by Thomas Boateng Appiagyei, its president, charged community pharmacists to be vigilant in identifying the symptoms which include headache, stiff neck, high fever and confusion.
“The moment you identify the symptoms above in a client who visits your premise, please refer to the nearest health facility that can manage the case,” he said.
Mr Appiagyei said early referral is strategic for survival, admonishing them not to attempt to provide a first aid since that could prevent the diagnosis and possible good prognosis.
“All pharmacists are encouraged to support the national effort by observing and documenting the evidence of suspected cases to disease control offices in their catchment areas,” he said.
The alert by the PSGH has been necessitated by the reported outbreak of meningitis in the Brong Ahafo Region, Northern, Ashanti and Volta regions.
The reminded members that meningitis is an infection of the meninges or membrane covering the brain and the spinal cord which is associated with serious brain damage, and has high case fatality rate (about 50%) when left untreated.
“Even when the disease is diagnosed early and adequate treatment is started, 5% to 10% of patients may die, typically within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms, hence the need for prompt referral of all suspected cases.
“The transmission of bacterial is from person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from carriers,” PSGH said.
So far, over 180 cases of meningitis have been recorded in four regions of the country, with 36 deaths since the first case was reported in December 2015.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri