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Govt to pay for funeral of KUMACA swine flu victims

Students and teachers were given antibiotic drugs earlier this week

Government says it would bear the funeral expenses of four students of Kumasi Academy Senior High School (KUMACA) who died as a result of the swine flu outbreak.

The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia announced this when he visited the school to sympathise with students, teachers and families of the victims on Friday in the Ashanti region.

At least 19 students of the school are on admission receiving treatment following the outbreak of the H1N1 virus popularly referred to as swine flu.

Government is to start a vaccination exercise for the about 3000 students in the school as well as teachers and close family members next week as health experts work fervently to contain the outbreak.

Government is giving 5,000 to each of the victims’ families to  start the burial preparation, 3news.com’s Ashanti regional correspondent Ibrahim Abubakar reported.

The Vice President also announced that government will absorb all the hospital bills of KUMACA students who are currently on admission.

Dr. Bawumia was accompanied on the visit by the Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Ashanti Regional Minister Simon Osei-Mensah, some government officials and health personnel.

“The good news is that the virus is treatable so I’m pleading with all parents to bring back their wards for vaccination,” the Vice President remarked.

Dr. Bawumia had early on expressed his condolences to the victims’ families with the full assurance that government would work around the clock to contain the virus.

“I know that parents and other schools are getting nervous about the possibility of further outbreak of swine flu in their respective schools. I will like to assure the public of Government’s resolve to continue to review and strengthen measures to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu around the country and keep our schools safe.”

Meanwhile, the Head of Diseases and Surveillance at the Ghana Health Services, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, said they will suspend the administering of the antibiotic drugs to the students and start vaccinating them from next week.

The antibiotics, according to him, will not help since the cause of the death had been established to be viral instead of bacterial.

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe reiterated calls on parents to bring back their wards for vaccination to enable them control the spread of the disease.

Less than 100 students out of the about 3,000 population of the school are currently on campus, Ibrahim observed.

According to the World Health Organisation, the Influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged in 2009.

It is transmitted through the respiratory system mainly through droplets disseminated by unprotected coughs and sneezes.

Short-distance airborne transmission of influenza viruses may occur, particularly in crowded enclosed spaces. Hand contamination and direct inoculation of virus is another possible source of transmission.

By Isaac Essel |3news.com | Ghana

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