Scientists at the School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), have called on Ghanaians to practice environmental cleanliness towards controlling typhoid disease in the country.
Professor Ellis Owusu-Dabo, the Principal Investigator of the team, said that was crucial as Ghana had a high burden of typhoid disease, with children from six months to 15years being more susceptible and presenting with severe conditions.
Prof Owusu-Dabo made the call during a typhoid stakeholders’ meeting in Accra on the theme: “Multistakeholder Engagement on Typhoid Disease and Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine”.
The purpose of the meeting was to present research findings on Ghana’s typhoid fever disease burden to inform policy formulation in the country.
He said research had indicated that about 85 per cent of children within the above age bracket in Ghana suffered typhoid with about 1,150 related deaths and that it was important to ensure clean environment to reduce the infection rate.
“This is a great cause of worry because children’s survival cannot be over emphasised and as such, we must ensure their growth to enable them become future leaders,” he stated.
The Principal Investigator urged parents to encourage their children to keep their environment clean always and also practice personal hygiene.
Prof Dabo said that had become very important because existing antibiotics used for the treatment of typhoid had developed anti-microbial resistance.
He advised the public to always visit a hospital when they suspect typhoid, especially with symptoms such as fever, malaria, joint pain, cough, rushes among others for proper diagnosis and treatment, stressing that self-medication was contributing to anti-microbial resistance.
Dr Anthony Nsia Asare, the Presidential Advisor on Health, commended the team of scientists for the contribution to policy formulation.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, in a speech read on his behalf, said if Typhoid vaccine trial process went well the ordinary Ghanaian would be vaccinated to minimise the effect of typhoid infections in the country.
Typhoid fever is a serious and sometimes life-threatening infection, which mostly affects people in developing countries, where sanitation is poor and getting clean water is a problem.
It is caused by bacteria called Salmonella typhi (S. typhi), which is related to the salmonella bacteria that cause food poisoning. They typically live in humans and are shed through a person’s faeces and urine.
The infection happens when a person eats or drinks something contaminated with the bacteria. When the bacteria get into the body, they quickly multiply and spread into the bloodstream.