Cover up in Ghana

Two outbreaks of pandemic H1N1 have been reported recently in Ghana schools. The first was at St. Martin’s Senior High School in Adoagyire. Now another school has been hit, but there appears to be an attempt by school officials to cover up the outbreak.

From myjoyonline.com, May 29, 2010

Reports say the over 80 infected students of the Aburi Presbyterian SHS have been quarantined in one of the dormitories in the school.

One of the female students (name withheld), who spoke with our reporter, Kwaku Antwi-Otoo, alleged that the school authorities do not want their parents to know about the outbreak in the school.

“We were in class on Monday, 24th May, 2010, when we saw the school vehicle, conveying some of the female students to the hospital. We enquired why and they told us they have been infected with the H1N1 flu. The school authorities are preventing our parents from knowing so as at now, am not sure our parents are aware of the outbreaks”, the student explained.

The student explained that the school vehicle conveys 40 passengers and it did three trips, spawning suspicion that the figure could be more.

Attempts to deny or minimise outbreaks of pandemic H1N1 occur throughout the world. Kudos to the reporters in Ghana for ferreting out this outbreak. Now, the parents of the children at Aburi Presbyterian SHS know that their children are in danger. In other countries, the press is muzzled and the general public has no idea what risks they and their children are exposed to.

Having pandemic H1N1 outbreaks is nothing to be ashamed of.

Hiding them, otoh, is shameful.

[On May 30, 2010, School officials denied the report above.

From GhanaWeb, May 30, 2010

The Management of the Aburi Girls Senior High School has denied media reports that there was an outbreak of the H1N1 Flu at the school and so it had been closed down.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency(GNA), the Headmistress of the school, Ms Sylvia Asempa, expressed concern about the unfounded report with its attendant problems.

She stressed that none of the 1400 students of the school has been infected with the disease.

However, it is worth noting that the original report was verified by public health officials in Ghana.

From myjoyonline, May 29, 2010

The Eastern Regional Director of the Ghana Health Services (GHS), Dr. Erasmus Adongo, confirmed the disease to Asempa News, but explained that the situation is under control.

“I can’t give the figures now, but the District Director told me samples that were sent to Noguchi tested H1N1-positive and we are monitoring the situation”, he explained.

So, who is telling the truth, Ms Sylvia Asempa, the Headmistress of the Aburi Girls Senior High School or Dr. Erasmus Adongo, the Eastern Regional Director of the Ghana Health Services?

One of them is lying.]

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