Residents Risk Catching Deadly Disease
Lack of foresight by the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), in dealing with the suspected cases of the deadly meningitis at one of the national respected secondary schools, has put the lives of residents within and outside the Kumasi Metropolis, in grave danger.
The possible pandemic, has resulted in the loss of eight lives and hospitalization of scores of students of Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) with the latest death, recorded yesterday.
But, instead of the nation’s health authorities cordoning off the school and detaining the students and their authorities for thorough medical examination and treatment, they had rather allowed apprehensive parents to besiege the school to take their wards, who could be carrying the meningitis pathogen home to spread in the metropolis and beyond.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the human brain and spinal cord. The swelling from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck. Most cases of meningitis are caused by a viral infection, bacterial, fungal infections among others.
Some health analysts, The Herald spoke with, were worried. They were of the view that, the Ministry of Health and the GHS, should have shown leadership by declaring the school a disaster zone and have the students and administrators examined and treated for the disease.
Just last Saturday, a first-year General Arts student of the School, Fodjour Furgerson Livingstone, died at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), after he was initially admitted at the Tafo Government hospital when he complained of fever.
The family of the 17-year old student, has accused school authorities of negligence. The bereaved family says, the authorities failed to take proper care of the student who fell sick, but rather concentrated on activities to mark the 60th-anniversary celebration of the school.
According to the family, the deceased contracted the disease when he voluntarily took a colleague with a suspected case of meningitis to the hospital.
He is believed to have died from meningitis, although the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Asokore Mampong, Alhaji Alidu Seidu, has told Accra-based Citi FM that, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, will present a report on the cause of death today.
Four students died earlier this year, whilst three died just last week, prompting parents to raise concern about the safety of their wards in the school.
Citi News’ Ashanti Regional Correspondent, Hafiz Tijani, reported yesterday that, some parents reported to the school, insisting they want to take their wards home over the ‘mysterious’ deaths.
The deceased, Clementina Konadu, a form two Science student, died on at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) hospital, where dozens of other students are on admission.
Police officers, were deployed to the Kumasi Academy to maintain order after parents trooped to the school to pick up their wards.
The angry parents, were initially prevented from entering the school after the school’s security blocked the main entrance.
Some of the parents who forced their way into the school, have successfully taken away their wards. The atmosphere at the school is tense, as more parents are trooping to the school.
Six students, have so far been discharged from the KNUST hospital, while 18 others, are still on admission.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has been summoned to Parliament over the recent deaths of students at the school.
Yesterday, Joe Osei Owusu, serving as the Speaker of Parliament, directed the Health Minister, to brief the House on his preliminary findings from the crisis at KUMACA on Friday, December 8.
The directive came after the Minority Chief Whip and MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak, requested that Mr. Agyemang-Manu, be summoned to speak to the ‘mysterious deaths’.
Before the summons, the Minister, speaking in Parliament, said he WAs now gathering details on the incident.
“Some of these investigations are scientific. They take some time… until I consult with my technical people, it will be naive on my part to sit here and give time deadlines. Mr. Speaker, I can get you informed after I meet with technical people on how quickly we can come to the House to brief the House,” Mr. Agyeman-Manu stated.
The Kumasi Academy, which is within the Asawase Constituency, has so far recorded eight deaths since the beginning of 2017 from ailments suspected to be meningitis-related.
Four students died earlier this year, but yesterday’s death prompted parents to raise concerns about the safety of their wards in the school. They stormed the school and took their wards home despite the fact that they are about to start examinations.
One parent said he would rather have his ward fail the exams, than stay in the school and die. Police personnel were dispatched to the school according to Citi FM, to maintain law and order.
Before the 2017/2018 academic year, the school’s authorities had said it had adopted measures to prevent meningitis-related deaths.
Mr. Mubarak, stressed that, people in his constituency are extremely worried about the lack of clarity on the issues.
He said, he wanted the Health Minister to come and give “the official position on what was happening, what measures they are taking to nip this in the bud, and what measures are being put in place to prevent this from reoccurring.”
“Mr. Speaker, my fear is that, if we are not careful, that school will be empty with all the infrastructure that it has because you will hear people in Kumasi saying it is occultism, it is spiritual, it is some demons that are in the school. All manner of things are being said,” the legislator added.