Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang-Manu’s has told parliament that a national team of experts has been deployed to minimize the impact of the outbreak of the unknown disease, which has claimed the lives of four students of Kumasi Academy (KUMACA).
The team is also to stop further transmission, ensure effective case management, protect school population at risk, educate the school population and submit a report and recommendations to prevent further occurrences.
According to the Minister the team would support the Region and District to support the response activities, with such terms of reference as technical and logistic support to the affected municipality.
The Minister, who was briefing Parliament at its summons, on the mysterious disease, said currently, no definite laboratory confirmation has been done as to the cause of the outbreak.
Also, “blood sample and Cerebro Spinal Fluids have been taken and sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR). Initial findings are negative of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever. An initial autopsy was however inconclusive… Further samples taken and sent to NMIR, the Tamale Public Health Zonal Laboratory and another institution.”
Mr Agyemang-Manu said some public health actions taken include specimen taken from cases at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Hospital, surveillance intensified throughout the municipality, records review of OPD register at the school’s sick bay and all cases being referred to KNUST Hospital and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
Furthermore, a line list has been developed for suspected cases, and emergency meetings are being held between health and school authorities.
The Minister warned that the decision by parents to forcefully take their children home from the school could spell doom for the public, especially as the cause of the deaths is yet to be established, adding that, the move by the parents was against the advice of medical professionals.
“Unfortunately last night, Mr Speaker, parents have taken their wards from the school and this has become another health challenge because the medical advice said that we should contain them in the school and manage them more efficiently.
So, the problem we now have is that if the disease turns out to be contagious, then, it will mean those who have come out of the school into their family homes are also going to help spread the disease so that is the challenge we are confronted with.”
The Minister, who also represents the people of Dormaa Central Constituency, advised his colleagues in the House that “in order not to create unnecessary tension and panic in the system, those of us talking about this issue must be professional in the way we talk or else we may create unnecessary panic, which might not be the case.”