UW/R: Late Reporting to Health Facilities Contributing to Rising CSM Fatalities – Director of Health Services

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Regional Director of Health Services in the Upper West Region, Dr. Osei Kuffuor Afreh, has attributed the increasing number of deaths from cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) in the region to late reporting of cases to health facilities.

According to the Director, while medication is available to treat people suffering from CSM, the challenge faced is the delay in reporting when the signs and symptoms are manifesting. He therefore called on the general public to report early to the health facility when any of the CSM signs or symptoms is suffered. Dr. Afreh disclosed that, antibiotics, infusions and other materials needed for the treatment are available, stating that, “our stores are not depleted to offset the management of meningitis. Our challenge is late reporting to our facilities.”

The medical doctor said people are misinterpreting the ‘stay at home’ in the fight against the spread of covid-19 to the extent they do not want to visit a health facility even when they are sick. He therefore advised people not to stay at home when they are suffering any ailments, saying “for meningitis the earlier you come to the hospital, the better your chances of survival. So what we are preaching is that, people should report early so that we can treat them on time.”

While acknowledging that the health sector is overwhelmed by the covid-19 pandemic, the Health Services boss in the region admitted that more health education on CSM is needed to stop the increasing fatalities.

So far, cerebrospinal meningitis has claimed 37 lives out of 247 reported cases in the Upper West Region. These figures are recorded in the last 13 weeks, starting from January this year.

The Nadowli District recorded the highest deaths of 12 out of 74 cases. This is followed closely by the Nandom Municipality and the Jirapa Municipality with 10 deaths and nine deaths out of 76 cases and 42 cases respectively. The Wa Municipality recorded four deaths from 27 cases while the Lawra Municipality and the Wa West District recorded one death each from eight and 15 cases respectively. The Sissala East Municipality recorded five cases with no deaths.

Meanwhile, the Sissala West, the Wa East, the Daffiama-Busie-Issa, and the Lambussie districts have so far recorded no case of CSM.