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Report unusual body rashes to help detect Mpox disease – Dr Poku

The public have been urged to re­port unusual body rashes for test to be conducted to detect for symptoms of the Mpox disease.

That, the La Nkwatanang Madi­na Municipal Director of Health Service, Dr Priscilla Anima Poku, explained was the only way to prevent the spread of the disease in communities.

Mpox is a viral disease that can spread between people or between people and certain animals.

Dr Poku made the call at a day’s orientation programme for regional and district Risk Communication and Community Sub-Committees (RCCEs) from two municipalities in the Greater Accra Region.

The participants who were from the Ayawaso West and the La Nk­watanang municipalities included Assembly members, officials of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Public Health educators and their surveillance teams.

Issues discussed included over­view of Ghana’s Mpox situation; Awareness Creation and Interven­tions; Myths, Misinformation and Rumour Tracking Tool; Misinfor­mation Management and Commu­nication for Behaviour Change.

It sought to sensitise the RCCEs on the need to increase community engagement and surveillance to­wards combating the spread of the disease, which came with serious health implications.

It was also to enable them use the skills learnt to identify people with the Mpox and direct them to the nearest health facility.

The programme was organ­ised by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Centre for Com­munication Programmes under the USAID Breakthrough Action-Gha­na.

Dr Poku said Mpox was a threat to communities’ existence as its symptoms included headache, respiratory problems, rashes on the body and genitals as well as fatigue.

Hence, she urged for the need to begin observing the COVID-19 protocols of preventing physical contact and wearing of the nose mask to curb the spread.

The Senior Programme Officer, USAID, Ms Akua Titus-Glover, said the programme was to help the participants eradicate the myths and rumours surrounding the Mpox disease.

She urged them to communicate to the public timely and accurately to enable medical teams do their work effectively.

Programmes Officer, Johns Hopkins Centre for Communi­cation Programmes, Emmanuel Cephas Apronti, in a presentation on misinformation management explained rumours as unverified information, stories or reports that spread rapidly through a group and could be either true or false.

For misinformation, he said it was the spread of false or inaccu­rate information.

Mr Apronti said a challenge in addressing rumours was that “we sometimes have an immediate reflex to correct information as quickly and accurately as possible. This can sometimes backfire.”

He added that rumours were often rooted in long-standing and deeply held beliefs and could be very resistant to correct them.

As such, Mr Apronti said it was necessary for the participants to address rumours to prevent the public from rejecting information that could help prevent the spread of the disease.

He said it was also to prevent the damaging of social relation­ships, as groups of people blamed other ethnic, religious, cultural or geographical groups as potentially responsible for the disease.

BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU & ABIGAIL ARTHUR

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