Residents express concern over possible outbreak of CSM amidst curfew

file photo; curfew at Saboba and Chereponi districts

Following the curfew imposed on Saboba and Chereponi districts in the Northern Region after days of ethnic clashes between Konkombas and Chokosis, there have been calls for a total lift of the curfew to avert a possible outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in the area.

A resident of the affected area, Peter Gbande warned of avoidable deaths from the disease should the curfew continue unabated.

Speaking yesterday in an interview on Bolgatanga based A1 radio, Mr. Gbande said CSM is endemic in the catchment area usually when the weather is very warm; warning that precautionary measures need to be put in place to forestall casualties resulting from the disease.

He lamented: “It’s a worry to us here because this particular moment is the peak season of CSM and we know that this part of the country is very warm; especially at this time. If we have to be in our rooms from 6:00 pm to 6:00 the next morning, the heat alone in our rooms here is unbearable. How many people around here are able to acquire ACs {air-conditioners} in their rooms? Even in Saboba and Chereponi towns, ACs are found only in offices; and we don’t sleep in our offices. The fans we use in our rooms here, the air it produces at night is so warm that you can’t accommodate it.”

Emphasizing on the call, he added that “Normally, we are able to survive the threat of the disease because we sit outside until somewhere 10:00 pm when the weather is better; then we can enter our rooms. We are praying the President through the Interior Ministry to take-off the curfew completely because CSM is endemic here.”

Mr. Gbande expressed fear that the curfew, though, an effective measure to cease fire in the area, if care is not taken, a possible outbreak of CSM will do much more harm.

He noted that some residents in the area have started having health issues one could suspect to be symptoms of CSM; citing past reported deaths caused by the diseases.

According to him, “People are sick here, they have stiffness of the neck, they have reddish eyes, they have headache; and these are all symptoms of the disease CSM.’’

“On the 21st and 22nd of February of 2018, in my community here alone, three people died of CSM. These were confirmed cases. One of them died at the Chereponi Government Hospital, the other in Wapuli and one in Saboba District Hospital. Other people died around here but because they didn’t go to the hospital, no one is able to confirm that they died of CSM, but the symptoms of CSM were clear before their death; so this calls for worry.” He recounted.

Despite observing that relative calm has been restored in the area, Mr. Gbande recognizes the need for continuous security presence in the area to foil further escalations that may otherwise lead to loss of lives and property.

Source; P. K Fordjour