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General News of Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Source: classfmonline.com

KUMACA deaths: Students dispute autopsy report

Some students of the Kumasi Academy Senior High School (SHS) have rejected the post-mortem examination which concluded that four of their colleagues who have lost their lives within the last few days, died of meningitis.

According to some of the students who spoke on condition of anonymity, the four deaths have a spiritual connection beyond the explanations given by authorities.

They insisted that the teachers are aware that the deaths are spiritual yet remain tight-lipped about the matter.

According to them, it was strange that four students could just pass away within days, even though they were in good health a few days earlier.

Others also hold the belief that the teachers have used the deceased students for rituals.

Earlier, Ashanti regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, revealed that the cause of the death of the students has been identified as meningitis. This was after pathologists in the region conducted an autopsy on the bodies of the students who died within a two-week period.

Mr Osei said on Wednesday, April 5, that through collaboration between the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and doctors from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, “the cause of the deaths has been identified as meningitis”.

Meanwhile, 26 more cases have been identified and health officials have intensified surveillance to contain the disease and prevent further outbreak.

The school authorities are to hold a board meeting to roll out plans to decongest the dormitories and relocate some students to a new block.

Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. This inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Meningitis is usually caused by bacteria or viruses, but can be a result of injury, cancer, or certain drugs.

Meanwhile, teaching and learning activities have been affected as students who reported for school on Monday, April 3, have decided to return home.

It would be recalled that the students demonstrated on the evening of Friday March 31 to seek answers from authorities on the mysterious deaths.

Three students, who were granted permission to go home for treatment after they had complained of sickness, died while at home.

A student fell sick on Friday, March 31 and his mates, who became suspicious over the previous deaths, decided to go on rampage.

Students in the school vandalised school buses and other properties in the process and attempted to attack the assistant head teacher of the school.

Over 100 parents stormed the school Friday evening after some of their wards called to inform them about a food poisoning incident.

Police officers from the Asokore Mampong and Manhyia Divisional Police Commands were called for reinforcement.

Confirming the incident to Class News, assistant head teacher in charge of academics, Ernest Wiafe, said calm had returned to the school but the parents would have to come back at a later time.

According to him, “the students were agitated after supper when they heard rumours another student had passed on”.

He said one first year student and two second year students had passed away at that time.

“They did not die in the school here. These are students who fell sick, reported at the sick bay, they were given first aid, the nurses sought the permission of their respective house heads, they went home, they were taken to hospital but unfortunately passed on at those health facilities,” he explained.

He said the issue had been reported to the Municipal Health Directorate.

"The Director has instructed some of his personnel to come over. They have taken information from the school and they want to do follow-up at the respective health facilities where the students unfortunately passed away so that they can put a finger on what transpired.

He emphasised that there had been “nothing like food poisoning” adding that “the school has a population of over 2000 and if it was food poisoning you would have imagined the numbers [of students who will fall ill]”.

Mr Wiafe indicated that the deaths are “isolated cases and ailments, however investigations by professionals are still ongoing and I believe in the end we will know everything”.

He ruled out the possibility of sending all students home.