Ghana Health Service allays fears of potential meningitis epidemic

Director-General of Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, has allayed fears of a potential outbreak meningitis in the country.

He says robust disease surveillance system for daily consistent monitoring has brought the situation under control.

Dr Nsiah-Asare acknowledges Ghana has recorded  Meningococcal meningitis types  C and W bacterial infection in some regions but insists there is no danger.

Until recently, Ghana was noted for the Meningococcal Type A strain, endemic in the Northern Belt,  a condition which has been managed by routine vaccination exercises.

However, sporadic outbreaks in Ashanti, Bono Ahafo, Central Eastern and  Northern Regions have raised fears.

A number of meningitis-related fatalities have occurred in some Senior High Schools nationwide in the last few months.

Seven of the deaths were recorded at Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) last April.

Dr Nsiah-Asare says Ghana has one of the most resilient systems for early disease detection and control.

“If you want to say meningitis is epidemic, then in a  population of 100,000, get about 100  people getting it at the same time and some of them losing their lives,” he said.

He says the figures are too low to warrant mass vaccination.

“What you see is either type C or W so it is the type W that we have not reached an epidemic threshold for us to do mass vaccination,” he said.

He adds: “We are not praying that we see that surge in may be one of the districts. No that’s not what we are hoping for. But the sporadic ones, sporadic ones that are coming, we will continue  treating it; we will continue  managing it so that nobody dies.”

That notwithstanding, the Ghana Health Service says it is on alert to prevent an epidemic.

“Our surveillance is showing us that we haven’t gone above any unusual thing so we are following it every day; every week, every hour. So what we are interested in is where there’s congregation of people especially in the secondary schools; where there’s a congregation of people especially in our prisons,” he revealed.

Meanwhile, District Health Information Management System under which community health personnel collate data daily nationwide has been activated.


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