General News of Wednesday, 6 December 2017
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, has denied attributing the multiple cases of ‘mysterious’ health-related deaths at the Kumasi Academy School (KUMACA) over the past week to Ebola.
A news portal had reported that, the Minister had suggested in an interview with Kumasi-based Nhyira FM that the deaths might have been caused by Ebola, and not meningitis as reported earlier.
However speaking in an interview with Citi News, the Minister denied making such claims, saying “It is never true.”
According to him, he only gave the analogy that, people need to wait for results of the test before arriving at conclusions as was the case with the Ebola outbreak.
Four students have died within one week, bringing to eight, the number of students who have passed away this year alone. The situation alarmed parents whose wards are in the school, as they stormed the institution to take them out.
KUMACA deaths: Meningitis ruled out, bacterial infection suspected
As speculation on the possible cause of these cases grow, health officials in the Ashanti Region have ruled out Meningitis as the cause of the recent deaths.
The officials, however suspect a bacterial infection in the school. Speaking to the Media, the Ashanti Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Emmanuel Tenkorang, said “we have done all the tests for meningitis. They are negative, so it shows that the condition is not meningitis.”
“We suspect that, most probably, there was an atypical bacterial infection, and that is the reason why we have this crisis. From the pathologist report, we believe there was an infection and most probably, it is a bacterial infection, and because of the fatalities, it is one of the atypical bacteria that we are dealing with,” the doctor added.
Kumasi Academy to close down over ‘mysterious’ student deaths
The Minister also indicated that, the school will be closed down latest by Friday, December 8 to pave way for screening of staff of the school. This according to the Minister is to ensure that none of them has an ailment that is infectious.
This decision was taken after a meeting with the Ashanti Regional Health Directorate, the Ghana Education Service, and the school’s Parents and Teacher Association.
On the screening and treatment, the Minister said “we will give doses to all the students, teaching staff and non-teaching staff. I am told it is going to be a three-day exercise.”
Mr. Osei Mensah explained that, the screening was necessary to minimize the risk posed by the supposed ‘mysterious’ illness.
“Immediately after the exercise, we will close down the school and ask all the students to go home. The reason why we don’t want to close the school now is that, we don’t want a situation whereby if the disease is infectious and some students have already got the infection, they are going to infect their whole family with it. That will be a serious risk” he said.
Six students have so far been discharged from the KNUST hospital, while 18 others are still on admission. Four students died earlier in 2017, whilst three died just last week. Another died on Tuesday morning, prompting parents to raise concerns about the safety of their wards in the school.
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research is expected to present a report on the cause of deaths on Wednesday. The deaths have so far been suspected to be meningitis-related.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has also been summoned to Parliament over the death of students.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, who was addressing the school following a meeting with the Regional Security Council on the health crisis, witnessed the collapse of two female students, an incident that saw parents moving helter skelter to rescue their wards.