The Minority in Parliament has disputed claims by the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe-Boye on the outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis in the five northern regions that the disease is largely under control and has not reached the epidemic level.
According to the Member of Parliament for Daffiama Bussie Issa, Dr. Sebastian Sandaare the deputy health minister’s report vastly contradicts the situation on the ground and cannot be used to represent the case in affected areas.
Dr Bernard Okoe Boye while presenting a report on the CSM after visiting the affected regions told parliament on Thursday, that the situation up north is caused by a new strain that does not have any vaccine yet, but health professionals have been able to contain it.
He is quoted to have said amongst other things that, “…Mr. Speaker, I am glad to report that the situation with CSM is under control. A visit to some affected municipalities in the Upper West Region revealed that currently, only four cases of meningitis are being attended to in the region. The disease scale shows that we are no more in the epidemic level. Sustaining this achievement requires continuous education, and that is ongoing…”
But Dr. Sebastian Sandaare points to some inconsistencies in the report presented in parliament and claims Dr Okoe Boye failed to report on the facts as regards the CSM outbreak.
He said Dr Okoe-Boye misled parliament by trying to equate CSM to meningitis.
“…I’ll say that his statement was not really according to what is on the ground and according to what he really understands meningitis to be. It was an issue of trying to really come in to educate the public. Because I realised that there was some bit of misunderstanding between what meningitis is and what CSM really is and my colleague didn’t present the facts as we understand. He tried to equate CSM to meningitis but what we understand is that we have an outbreak of meningitis in the Upper West Region and normally within that context, you can talk about CSM. When you use CSM, you’re mainly talking about meningitis which is caused by a specific organism,” Dr Sandaare said.
Adding that, “you can talk broadly of meningitis which traditionally is what happens in the three northern regions. But what happens is that you have a meningitis outbreak but depending on the causative organism then you can talk about whether it’s CSM or something caused by something else. So that was an issue which I thought was in a way misleading the House because that is not what we understand to be happening with meningitis,” he argued.
Meanwhile, out of about 258 recorded CSM cases in the Upper West Region, 43 persons have lost their lives.
In the Upper East Region also, seven persons have died so far and over 400 cases in the five regions up North.
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