CSM under control—Dr Oko-Boye tells Parliament

A Deputy Health Minister, Dr Bernard Oko-Boye, has told Parliament that the Cerebrospinal Meningitis outbreak in the Upper West Region is under control. 

The Ledzokuku MP said as a result of the government interventions, only four cases of CSM were active in the region as at yesterday. 

“Mr Speaker, I am glad to report that as we speak the situation with CSM is under control. A visit to some affected municipalities in the Upper West Region revealed that currently only four cases of meningitis are being attended to. 

“The disease curve shows that we are no more in the epidemic level. Sustaining this achievement requires continuous education, an activity that is ongoing. 

“Continuous education and training are considered necessary by my ministry because no community in the meningitis belt is immune from further outbreaks, especially when it comes to other sero types like neiserria sero type W and A,” he said on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday. 

“We are not going to be complacent; preparation and surveillance remains the order of the day at all times with all diseases of public health importance,” he added. 

Dr Oko-Boye said with 273 cases and 43 deaths, laboratory results of the cases showed that a first wave of CSM that occurred between week two and four of 2020 were caused by streptococcus. 

The second epidemic wave between week eight and 13 of this year were caused by meningococus, a gram-negative bacterium, he said.

According to him 60 per cent of 63 cases sampled for laboratory test showed that “we are having an epidemic that was being caused by bacteria with no vaccine on the planet.” 

The science, he said, has revealed that the epidemic curve witnessed in the Upper West Region was not because all attention was given to coronavirus. 

“The epidemic is also not because vaccination wasn’t done or is not being done. It is because we are dealing with a novel bacterium of which there is no vaccine in the world,” he added, assuring that the government would do all it could to prevent a new wave of infection. 

But the Wa Central MP, Dr Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, said the government was underestimating the effect of the respiratory disease which leaves its victims with lifetime complications like mental, sight, hearing and spinal problems amongst others because of coronavirus.

“CSM is more deadly than coronavirus. You could recover from coronavirus but you may never recover from CSM.

“Don’t look at it that it is under control. We must do more than we are doing today,” he said and urged the government to elevate the awareness creation on the disease just as it had done with coronavirus. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

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