A TEAM of public health officials is to visit the Central and Eastern regions to evaluate the H1N1 situation and support the health workers in those regions to contain the spread of the influenza.
The team, which leaves Accra on Thursday, will be led by the Director of Public Health of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Joseph Amankwah, and will spend between four and five days visiting health facilities and interacting with both health workers and the public in the two regions.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Dr Amankwah said it was important that those two regions whose educational institutions had of late seen increase in cases of the disease were visited, assessed and the needed support provided before schools re-opened, adding that similar visits would be made to the other regions where the disease was present.
After a number of schools in the Greater Accra Region have recorded cases of the influenza, cases were recorded at the Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast and a basic school at Ayipey in the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District, both in the Central Region.
Some students of the Okuapemman and Mpraeso senior high schools in the Eastern Region were also infected.
The H1N1 influenza, which spread form other parts of the world to Ghana in August 2009, has currently spread to six of the regions of the country. The Brong Ahafo, Upper East, Upper West and the Volta regions are the four areas where cases of the disease have not been reported.
Throwing more light on the influenza, Dr Amankwah said the number of confirmed cases throughout the country stood at 600 as of Monday, April 12.
He stated that the number was out of 5,000 specimen so far sent to the central laboratory at the Nogochi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) for confirmation.
He observed that the number of confirmed cases notwithstanding, the situation could be described as "under control" because many of the infected persons had been successfully managed while the rest were receiving treatment.
In a related development, the Director of the NMIMR, Dr Alex Nyarko, told the Daily Graphic that the centre was coping with the number of specimen brought there for testing.
He said the only challenge that the personnel faced was to work overtime anytime large volumes of specimen were brought to be worked on.
He said the needed materials such as reagents had so far been made available for effective laboratory work and pointed out that it was important for the centre, which is a World Health Organisation (WHO) accredited laboratory, to be allowed to handle all suspected cases from health facilities to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Nyarko said to avoid drug resistance in the country, all cases must be confirmed at the NMIMR to ensure that those who actually suffered from the H1N1 virus were given the WHO recommended medicine for the treatment.