Ghana is battling to contain the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), but another disease that is having a dire consequence on residents of Upper West Region of Ghana is the Cerebral Spinal Meningitis (CSM).
CSM is killing more people than the COVID-19 in the northern parts of the country but there has been little attention from authorities to address the outbreak there.
The Upper West Region has recorded 214 infections and still counting with 33 deaths from this infectious and deadly CMS.
It is in line with this that the former Minister of State in charge of the Private Sector Development, Dr. Rashid Pelpuo is calling on President Akufo-Addo and the health authorities to as a matter of urgency, channel resources to the area for the fight against CSM.
In an open letter to President Akufo-Addo which was copied to 3news.com, the Member of Parliament for Wa Central in the Upper West Region, Dr. Rashid Pelpuo said “I am writing to you today because of the loud silence and lack of expeditious action over the devastating CSM infection in the Upper West Region”.
“I had reason to draw attention of your Government on the floor of Parliament about the effect of the disease in the Region but unhappy with the lack of urgency with which the Ministry of Health is tackling the problem”, he explained.
The MP said “as at the last count the Region recorded 214 infections and still counting with 33 deaths from this infectious deadly disease. Both the rate of infection and resultant deaths are more than the national averages of infections and deaths from COVID-19”.
Dr. Pelpuo who is a former Minister of Youth and Sports said the report of the extent of infection has widely been reported on the website of a local FM station in the Region.
“Painfully, the news about the infection came out as an issue when the Regional Director of Health was reporting on COVID-19 infections in the Upper West Region and mentioned it in passing,” he recalled.
Dr. Rashid Pelpuo said “our nation is at a standstill because of our fear that COVID 19 disease will cause deaths amongst us. With the CSM infections deaths are occurring beyond those caused by COVID 19 but we do not see government acting with an equal amount of exigency and demonstrating same kind of leadership”.
“Most disturbing is the report that needed drugs used to treat the disease which are in short supply were donated by an individual. Those drugs are not sold in the market and can only be supplied by government”, the MP explained.
The MP noted that “what this means is that government rather supplying the Regional central medical store with the drugs, decided to hand them over to that individual who then presented them as her own effort seeking to reap political gains out of it. What happens if that individual, who obviously is not a health personnel mishandled and contaminated the drug? This to a large extent is disrespectful to the lives of the people. It is unacceptable and condemnable”.
The National Democratic Congress legislator called for a “conscious expeditious action by you and your government in the same way we’re fighting the COVID 19 disease. This lack of urgency and disregard of the lives of people in the Upper West region cannot be tolerated”.
“I call on you Mr President to address this issue and to apply some of the reliefs you graciously have spelt out in the fight against COVID 19 to the fight against the Celebral Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in the Upper West Region”.
He admitted that these are not normal times but efforts must be made to contain the spread of the CSM in the region as well.
“We all know these are no normal times and with these uncertain moments of our lives as Ghanaians we need to close our ranks and work together as citizens with you providing impartial leadership”, he urged.”
By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|3news.com|Ghana