Chairman for Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) on Health, Dr. Gabriel Benaku wants Ghana’s Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, held responsible for the death of 43 persons to cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) in northern Ghana.
He would not also accept explanation by the Health Ministry, attributing the high death rate to the fact that the current strain of the virus is strange.
“The Minister of Health cannot sit down for 43 people to die and they will now come and say what we discovered is that the strain of CSM is a strange one; from January to April is strange so you could not find solution to it, why?”
Dr. Gabriel Benaku was speaking to Stephen Anti on TV3’s Midday Live on Tuesday.
There have been concerns about the number of cerebrospinal meningitis related deaths this year with some persons in areas hard hit by the disease accusing the government of neglecting patients suffering from CSM as it over-concentrates on another deadly disease: Novel coronavirus (Covid-19) that has claimed 16 lives as of April 28.
The Member of Parliament for Wa Central in the Upper West Region, Dr. Rashid Pelpuo who wrote an Open Letter to the President on the disease early April 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”.
President Akufo-Addo in his recent televised address to the nation on Covid-19 said the CSM deaths are regrettable.
“The recent, tragic CSM outbreak, with over forty (40) deaths, has reaffirmed the need for ready access to such infectious disease control centres, even though, in our time, nobody should die of the disease. Early reporting is what is required, and I implore everybody to heed this call,” the president said
But Dr. Gabriel Benaku insisted on TV3, “We think that the ministry of health is blamable, it is the most blamable institution in this regard, without any excuse”.
He regretted the lack of a national response to fight CSM, noting that though it is “common knowledge over the last 25 years” that from November to the following year May, Ghana records CSM outbreak due to the rising heat, those in responsible position fail to act.
“That is negligence, total negligence, we condemn this. The Minister of Health is responsible for it,” he condemned authorities’ attitude in tackling the endemic.
“Over the last 25 years you think we are not capable of detecting the strain within one week; then what kind of health system do we have?”
He reiterated, “They have not done their work well…The Minister of Health cannot tell us that because it is strange, it is the first time, for two months we couldn’t find solutions and we lost 43 people, that is not acceptable.”
Dr. Benaku charged government to double efforts in containing the CSM and also prioritise it like Covid-19.
He is also demanding a national response policy on virus so the nation can do away with its “reactive” approach to diseases.
Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana