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18.03.2009 Health

HIV/AIDS overtakes malaria and stroke as the major cause of death


HIV/AIDS claimed 54 lives, the highest cause of death recorded in health facilities in the Ketu South and Ketu North districts last year.

Malaria was second claiming 40 lives followed in third place by stroke which claimed 39 lives.

Others include anaemia 35 lives, septicaemia (infection in the blood) 23, respiratory failure 20, gastroenteritis 18, diarrhoea 15, TB 11 and abdominal infection 4.

Dr Andrews Ayim, Director of Health Services in charge of the two districts, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview on Wednesday that HIV/AIDS was the third major cause of death in the area in 2007 recording 16 deaths behind malaria at 19 deaths and stroke 17 deaths.

He said in that year (2007) septicaemia (blood infection) claimed 12 deaths with pneumonia and TB claiming four lives each.

He said though HIV was the leading cause of death in 2008, positive cases among those tested at the hospitals kept dropping since 2006.

Dr Ayim said this might be as a result of awareness creation activities of various organizations including the World Bank sponsored Abidjan/Lagos Corridor Project.

“Out of 2,277 people tested in 2006, 461 or 20.2 percent were positive, 623 or 18.4 percent out of the 3,360 people tested in 2007 proved positive and of the 7,068 tested last year (2007) only 707 or 10 percent were positive,” he said.

Dr Ayim expressed regret at the high annual malaria cases recorded in the two districts last year accounting for 1,195 admissions and urged the use of impregnated mosquito nets particularly by children.

He said admissions due to anaemia stood 423, hernia 231, diarrhoea 175, HIV 130, stroke and hypertension, 82 and 72 respectively.

Dr Ayim said cholera and typhoid cases have been on the decline and that since 2006 when 23 cases of cholera were recorded there had been no such case in 2007 and 2008.

Typhoid cases dropped from 2,681 in 2006 to 981 in 2007 with three cases recorded in 2008 attributing the improvements to intensive health education on personal hygiene and sanitation in the area especially among food vendors.

He said if those improvements were achieved despite the poor environmental sanitation situation particularly in Aflao, then a major improvement could be achieved if the sanitation situation is seriously tackled.

Dr Ayim said there has been a high increase in outpatient attendance in the area from 119,964 in 2007 to 143,057 in 2008, an 8.7 percent jump.

He said it was encouraging that patients were now patronizing the smaller health clinics thus easing pressure on the District Hospital at Aflao.