At least 33 people have died in the recent outbreak of a variant strain of pneumococcal meningitis in Ghana.
Official figures from Ghana’s Health Ministry indicate that the Brong Ahafo region, in the middle of the country, where the recent outbreak started has recorded 153 cases. The figures may however change with time.
Pneumococcal meningitis is caused when the meninges bacteria invades the bloodstream and infects the membranes protecting the brain and the spinal cord.
Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Victor Bampoe told the state owned Daily Graphic that the deaths increased after the review of some cases which were reported to some health facilities in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Northern regions.
The Health Minister announced the release of GHC 150,000 (approximately $37,000) and 1,500 vials of medication to be distributed to affected areas.
He has also directed the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to promptly pay insurance claims submitted by health facilities managing cases of meningitis.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has joined efforts by the Ghanaian government to control the outbreak by providing a number of laboratory equipment including test kits. The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) in Atlanta has also provided primers for confirmatory testing of samples.