As the meningitis outbreak in Togo continues to spread at an alarming rate, health centres are struggling to cope with an increased demand for treatment.
So far, 1,029 cases of meningitis have been reported, with 88 deaths. Due to the rate at which the meningitis outbreak is spreading, treatment isn’t always guaranteed across all health facilities. Patients are having to travel long distances just to get the treatment they need. It can take several hours, resulting in a delay treatment or in some cases death.
Plan International supports health ministry
To ease the situation, Plan International Togo has donated €58,000 worth of medicine to the Togo’s Ministry of Health to help treat people affected by meningitis. The medicine consists of antibiotics as well as medicine for fever, convulsions, vomiting and anti-malarial tablets. The medicine is being transported to health facilities in affected areas to help patients’ access treatment, easing the situation for children.
In addition, we are raising awareness of the disease and its treatments through a large number of radio programmes, and community-level education and communication by our staff and volunteers in affected regions.
Dr Hilim, Director of Health at Sotouboua District Hospital in Central Togo, said:
“Some patients do not go to the hospital because they lack means to pay for transport. Some even die before they’re able to reach the hospital.”
According to one father: “My son fell sick. He had a headache, neck pains and was very warm. During the night, he vomited and his condition got worse. We went to the village health centre and the nurse told me I had to take my son to the hospital. I had no means of transport so I went to the priests who agreed to drop us at the hospital. It was 4 am. We arrived and managed to park at the hospital, but it was too late. My son died in my arms. It was 7am. If the drugs to treat meningitis had been available in the health centre, my son might still be alive. We wouldn’t have been forced to make the long drive to the hospital.”
The medicine supplied by Plan International is being transported to health facilities in affected areas to help patients’ access treatment, easing the situation for children.
Emergency care saves children
When Bravo contracted meningitis, his parents immediately took him to the health centre, but he was told to go to the hospital.
“My son could not stand on his feet,” said Bravo’s father. “His condition was very serious. As there was no car available, I had to use my motorcycle. As my son could not sit by himself, my wife sat with him on the bike and held him all the way. I was so afraid that he may die. It took us one and a half hours to reach the hospital. Thanks to His Almighty, my son reached the hospital alive and was able to receive treatment. He is still weak but he should be able to go back to school in a few days.’’