Upper East records drastic reduction in meningitis cases

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Health – Meningitis Cases
Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi delivering his address

The number of confirmed meningitis cases in the first half of 2021 has significantly decreased from 20 to four cases Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has said.

He said there was an Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) across all antigens except Measles-Rubella-1, adding that the Region chalked notable successes in most of its key public health programme indicators.

“Ante-Natal Clinic (ANC) coverage appreciated significantly from 82.2 per cent in 2020 to 87.4 per cent, ANC four plus visits increased from 79.2 per cent to 85.2 per cent, the skilled delivery rate increased from 71.2 per cent to 79.2 per cent,” he added.

Family planning acceptor rate, he said, also rose from 35.7 per cent to 39.4 per cent while underweight stagnated at 1.5 per cent for 2020 and the period under review.

Dr Dzotsi disclosed this at the opening of a two-day health performance review meeting for 2021 mid-year in Bolgatanga on the theme: “Harnessing the contributions of stakeholders in reducing the high occurrences of maternal deaths in the Upper East Region.”

The programme attracted some key officials from the GHS across the Region, Heads of Departments, Non-Governmental Organizations, a traditional ruler and the media.

The two-day meeting would enable the GHS in the Region to take stock of their performance for the half-year and re-strategize to achieve their set targets by the end of the year, make suggestions to help shape policies of the Service and strategically position it to face challenges in the years ahead.

Dr Dzotsi said no child below five years had died of malaria in the past four years and there was a decline in mother-to-child transmission of HIV from 15.2 per cent to 5.4 per cent.

However, Tuberculosis case detection rate registered an increase from 28.4 per cent to 34.4 per cent, he added.

He said as much as there were some successes chalked in some of the key indicators, there were equally some drops recorded, noting that institutional maternal mortality saw an upward trend of 24 maternal mortalities, representing 114.2/100,000 live births.

“This has been the highest rate the Region has recorded in the past three years. Also, the first-trimester registration at ANC declined marginally from 55.7 per cent to 55.0 per cent. Anaemia at registration increased from 40.1 per cent to 41.9 per cent and stillbirths from 13.4 per cent to 14.8 per cent.”

The Director said the proportion of HIV positive pregnant women put on Antiretroviral declined significantly from 98.9 per cent to 90.2 per cent.

Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, in his address, said the main factors that prevented women from seeking care during pregnancy and childbirth ranged from poverty to lack of information, inadequate and poor quality services, cultural beliefs and practices.

He said to reduce the high rate of maternal deaths, there was the need to expand the range of services to poor women in remote communities of the Region as they equally deserved all the birth benefits from trained midwives, doctors and nurses.

The Minister said the Region would benefit from seven Hospitals under the government’s Agenda 111 Hospitals promised in 2020.

“The facilities are expected to employ some 20,000 people when completed,” he said.

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