Monday, 23 January 2012: 1:30 PM
The Socio-Economic Impact of Meningitis in Northern Ghana
Room 333 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Epidemics of meningitis occur throughout the world, but the greatest burden of disease is in the “meningitis belt” of the Sahel of Africa, where widespread epidemics occur during the dry, dusty season. Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) regarding meningitis and household Cost of the Illness (COI) are poorly understood. To further our understanding of disease transmission dynamics, a KAP and COI survey was conducted in the Kassena-Nankana District of northern Ghana in 2010 and 2011, using a case-control methodology. Quantitative interviews were conducted with 74 cases and 148 controls to better understand environmental and household risk factors for meningitis in northern Ghana. Results showed that there was high knowledge about stiffness of waist or neck (68%) as a symptom of meningitis by both cases and controls, but cases were more likely to mention other real early symptoms than controls. There were no significant differences between the cases and controls with regards to the causes of meningitis: heat was the most common cause mentioned by both cases and controls (82%). The average household cost of treating meningitis was $156 (Ghana Cedis) per case, which is higher than the average annual income of farmers ($87) in the district. Much of the total cost of meningitis was from lost productivity (60%) and the average number of days lost due to meningitis was 29 days. More focused educational campaigns would likely raise awareness of symptoms and causes of meningitis and reduce the burden of disease through vaccination and early treatment.