The government is soliciting the help of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide influenza vaccines for the students and staff of the Kumasi Academy in the Ashanti Region who remain at risk from the disease.
The Director of Disease Control and Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Franklin Asiedu Bekoe had earlier made similar indications to Citi News about the procurement of vaccines for the school.
Addressing Parliament on Friday, the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said, “as I speak, indications that we are getting from WHO is such that vaccines that can combat the strain that we have are available and we are making arrangements to see how best we can bring some of them into the country for further activities.”
On Thursday, the Ministry announced that samples from Kumasi Academy students sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute tested positive for the pandemic strain of influenza type A, H1N1 2009 also known as Swine Flu.
The samples were sent after it became clear there was a health crisis in the school following the death of four students in the last week.
An outbreak of an acute respiratory infection has also been confirmed in the school.
Health officials making headway
Mr. Agyemang-Manu described the developments as “good news” because the health officials now have a concrete lead to work on in their efforts to overcome the illness.
“Earlier, we were overwhelmed and it is like we were on an unknown island and we didn’t even know what to do. So now that this has been confirmed, at least we know the disease is curable. It can, therefore, be diagnosed and treated,” he stated.
Vaccination is said to be the most effective way of preventing the disease, even when circulating viruses may not exactly match the vaccine viruses.
It should be noted that the outright cause of death of the four students of the school and the hospitalization of 32 has not yet been fully confirmed.
NUGS donates sanitizers
Meanwhile, the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has also donated some hand sanitizers to the school.
The National President of the Union, Oheneba Elisha Essuman, also said his outfit will send a proposal to the Health Ministry to ensure that Kumasi Academy is furnished with a well-resourced clinic.