It has now been confirmed that the four students of Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) in the Asokore-Mampong municipality of the Ashanti Region who died this year, were suffering from Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis (CSM) – which is caused by excessive heat and over-crowding
This was revealed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ledzokuku, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, in parliament yesterday.
It was in response to an urgent request for parliament to invite the Minister of Health to tell the house what measures are being taken to prevent further deaths and also to assure parents that there would not be a recurrence of the incident in the school.
The request was made by the minority chief whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, in whose constituency the school is located.
He said the deaths in the school should not be attributed to spiritualism but rather a medical condition which is treatable.
After the four deaths in March, the school has recorded six recent deaths with several other students on admission at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) health facility.
Dr Okoe Boye, who is a medical doctor with specialisation in epidemiology, said that autopsy on the four students from KATH showed that the students had enlargement of the covering of the brain and spinal cord, called meningitis.
He said the disease is caused by bacteria known as neisseria meningitides, which brings about symptoms of headaches and high temperature; and is highly communicable.
He said as an epidemiologist, it is easy to foretell that it is CSM that is causing the deaths in the school and that it would be very fatal for parents to withdraw their children from the school, since the children could be carriers of the bacteria and further spread the disease in the communities that they would come and live in.
He said the ministry must find an urgent way of vaccinating all the students and residents of the immediate surroundings to check the spread and prevent further deaths.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who was in the house, told members that a team of experts was already in the school working hard to manage the situation.
According to him, the first autopsy had been sent to the Noguchi Memorial Medical Centre to ascertain whether the deaths were caused by CSM.
The first deputy speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, asked the minister to appear before the MPs on Friday to fully brief them on the situation at Kumasi Academy.