Conference abstract

Evaluating meningitis outbreak response using smartphone technology, Ghana, 2016

Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. 2017:3(113).01 Dec 2017.
doi: 10.11604/pamj-cp.2017.3.113.266

Contact the corresponding author
Keywords: Smartphone technology, meningitis, outbreak response
Oral presentation

Evaluating meningitis outbreak response using smartphone technology, Ghana, 2016

Ernest Akyereko1,&, Basil Kaburi1, Samuel Dapaa1, Francis Broni1, Gyasi Isshaku Razak1, Eunice Ampem-Danso1, Donne Ameme1, Edwin Andrew Afari1, Kofi Mensah Nyarko2, Ernest Kenu1

1Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program, Accra, Ghana, 2Namibia FELTP, Namibia

&Corresponding author
Ernest Akyereko, Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program, Accra, Ghana

Abstract

Introduction: evaluation of outbreak response is an often-overlooked step in outbreak investigations. This deprives response teams of valuable knowledge to guide future outbreak investigations. Ghana recorded a major outbreak of meningitis in 2016 involving several districts. This outbreak was controlled with a lot of difficulty by a coordinated multidisciplinary team. We evaluated the response to this outbreak using a smartphone technology.

Methods: the evaluation was conducted from 2nd - 19th August 2016. Kobo collect was used to develop a questionnaire covering outbreak response and assessment. The questionnaire was imported to the Android phones of investigators who then visited the outbreak districts. We interviewed key stakeholders and reviewed outbreak data and records. Data were analyzed using SPSS, MS-Excel 2016 and presented as frequencies, proportions, and graphs.

Results: a total of 23 districts were assessed in 5 regions of Ghana. Total number of meningitis cases reported in all districts within the period was 424 with case fatality rate of 10.61%. Six (6) out of the 23 outbreaks were not laboratory confirmed. The median time for laboratory confirmation of an outbreak was 2.5 days (interquartile range 1-4). The control measures employed by the districts were case management (100%), chemoprophylaxis (39%), contact tracing (78.2%) and environmental assessment (13%). Major challenges during the outbreaks were late reporting of affected persons to a health facility (78%), and lack of transportation for outbreak response activities (83%). In addition, shortages of laboratory reagents led to delays in laboratory confirmation (34.7%).

Conclusion: the median time for laboratory confirmation of outbreaks was long and led to delays in outbreak response. Logistics constraints made it difficult to control the outbreak. Adequate logistics should be provided to district health directorates and laboratories to support outbreak management.