Deputy Communications Director of the National Democratic Congress, Fred Agbenyo, has questioned the preparedness of government agencies in responding to emergencies on the back of the health crisis at the Kumasi Academy that led to the death of four students in a week.
He observed that how the KUMACA incident was handled showed there was no seriousness on the part of government agencies.
“It tells you our preparedness as a nation in fighting emergency because people were dying. It cause fear and panic and we should show seriousness when it comes to these things”, he added.
Four students have died since November 30, 2017 when the first incident, which was initially suspected to be meningitis, happened and has since affected 44 students some of who are still on admission.
Health authorities struggled to identify the disease until Thursday when officials announced tests have revealed the disease as H1N1.
Ahead of that, students were between Tuesday and Thursday given broad spectrum antibiotics with the hope of preventing further spread of the then unknown disease which was suspected caused by atypical bacterial.
Twenty-six blood samples were sent to Noguchi to be tested for Ebola, Marburg and Lassa but all came out negative, ruling out fears of the cause of deaths being Ebola as earlier speculated.
Fifty-five samples which were sent to Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research (KCCR),with 13 blood samples,15 throat swabs and 10 Cerebro-spinal fluids to be tested for Meningitis, Encephalitis and Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), all tested negative as well.
Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu on Thursday revealed laboratory test results from the Noguchi Memorial Centre for Medical Research showed that majority of the samples from the students of KUMACA tested Positive for Influenza Type-A H1N1.
Commenting on the matter on TV3’s New Day magazine show, Mr. Agbenyo said “we don’t have to wait for people to die before. We delayed and it clearly shows we did not prepare. Some of them [students] have gone home so how sure are we that they are safe”.
He suggested that all regional and district hospitals must be put on alert to monitor the outbreak because the possibility of spread is high, especially in Kumasi as some parents managed to get their wards from the school.
“We should get some hospitals on alert to monitor all these symptoms”.
On his part, Member of Parliament for Mfantseman in the Central Region, Ekow Hayford, urged parents with children at the school to help health authorities to contain the outbreak of swine flu in the school.
Mr. Hayford said parents can help by calming down for the health authorities to vaccinate all the students before they are taken home.
He advised those who forcibly took their wards home out of fear of being attacked by the disease to return them for vaccinations.
“What brought the fear was the communication that was put out and I will urge parents to give them [health authorities] their support. Let us defuse our minds that they can’t control it. We ought to encourage parents to send their children for vaccination” he advised.
The MP has meanwhile called on the health authorities to work effectively to ensure that they contain the outbreak to defuse the minds of the public and parents.
“The authorities should step up their game to ensure that they fight the outbreak because it is a source of worry”, he said.
By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|TV3|3news.com|Ghana