Simon Osei Mensah and other dignitaries on the high table during the press conference
Meningitis has been identified as the disease that claimed the lives of the four Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) students at Asokore-Mampong in the Ashanti Region, whose deaths after a few days of illness, have generated tension and fear among the students and their parents.
This was established following a collaborative work by experts from the Ghana Health Service, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi and the School of Medical Sciences, Simon Osei Mensah, the Ashanti Regional Minister, has announced.
He vehemently debunked initial reports that the four deaths might have been caused by food poisoning, stating that the situation, which initially looked scary, is now under control so nobody should panic.
Addressing the media on Wednesday at the KUMACA campus, the minister said 26 suspected meningitis cases were detected at the school from March 22nd to 31st this year and unfortunately four lives were lost and the remaining cases are being treated.
“Appropriate interventions have been put in place to detect cases early and respond as early as possible to achieve good outcomes,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Health (MOH) had taken necessary steps to contain the situation.
Mr Osei Mensah indicated that all second-cycle schools in the Ashanti Region had been assigned to a particular hospital by the MOH so that it could swiftly deal with any suspected case of meningitis.
He said also that massive awareness creation about meningitis and other epidemic conditions would be undertaken, asserting that the Ghana Education Service would team up with the MOH to ensure the safety of pupils/students.
The regional minister stated that the four deaths at KUMACA alone could not be used to conclude that there is meningitis outbreak in the region, stressing that the situation is under control.
He said the extreme hot weather condition being experienced in the region lately might be a contributory factor to the disease.
Mr Osei Mensah stated that feverish condition and headache, neck pains, neck stiffness, convulsion, vomiting, and bulging anterior fontanelle (for children under one year), are some of the symptoms of the disease.
He urged the public to avoid overcrowding, as well as coughing and sneezing by infected persons, adding that they should drink a lot of water, eat fluids and report to the nearest hospital if they see any of the symptoms.
From I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi