The Northern Development Forum (NDF) has called on the government to give the needed attention to the outbreak of Cerebral Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in six districts of the Upper West Region.
According to the Forum, CSM is currently claiming more lives in these districts hence the need of the health authorities, particularly the Ministry of Health to give it the needed attention.
NDF expressed its full solidarity and support to government and Ghanaians in these difficult times of fighting COVID-19, especially against the background of limited resources that have the tendency to stretch health personal and facilities to the limit.
“It is obvious that Covid-19 has captured the attention of the world and may be our main health anxiety but it is also a fact that all Ghanaian lives have equal rights and value.”
“Government ought to demonstrate equal concern about the current devastating CSM situation in the North, particularly when it is on the increase,” NDF said in a statement signed its chairman, Major Albert Don-Chebe (Rtd)
“With a mortality of CFR 15.4%, which is higher than the WHO standard of CFR< 10%, and by far in excess of the mortality rate of about 0.2% in Ghana and 2.7% globally, it is clear that this is not a ’normal’ outbreak, consequently requiring more than the ’normal’ attention,” it added.
The Forum appealed to government to, as a matter of urgency, take steps to forestall the devastating nature of the CSM, especially as this is a known seasonal outbreak.
It called on government to make available interventions to support the efforts that have been made already since the outbreak gained momentum in early February.
These include: Provision of sufficient Pastorex test kits to facilitate early detection; make available the necessary logistics for the transportation of samples to the various laboratories, including reference laboratories; Increase the number of culture centres in addition to the two currently available (Wa and Jirapa); and to deploy comprehensive communication platforms as well as informational and educational materials to speedily enhance awareness of the dangers of CSM and measures to ameliorate its impact in CSM-prone communities in the North.
According to the Forum, these emergency measures are needed as soon as possible in view of the fact that the disease has already claimed 37 lives in the region.
It advised that as the state tackles COVID-19 with all its weapons, it is important other life-threatening epidemics are given similar attention as well as commensurate resources.