Tema Newtown deaths are 'lifestyle related' - MOH, GHS

By Wendy Amarteifio
Tema_ Newtown deaths are 'lifestyle- related' -MOH,GHS
Tema Newtown deaths are 'lifestyle- related' -MOH,GHS

The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service says the recent deaths recorded in Tema Newtown in the Tema East Municipality within the past week, are as a result of different medical conditions and not curses as claimed by a Chief priest in the community, Numo Ashiboye Kofi.

According to them, some possible causes of the deaths in the area include ‘knife wounds, severe head injury, acute alcoholic intoxication, cardiac failure, lymphatic’ among others.

In a joint press statement, the two agencies said that a total of 16 deaths have been recorded in the New town community of the Tema Metropolis in the Greater Accra region.

The statement also disclosed that most of the causes of the deaths reported are “lifestyle-related”.

A combined team from the national and regional level of the Ghana Health Service and the Health Ministry conducted an investigation after it was widely reported in the media that strange deaths had hit Tema Newtown resulting in some residents bathing in the sea for “spiritual cleansing” on the orders of a spiritualist.

“A total of sixteen (16) deaths have been recorded from two communities; Tema Harbour Electoral Area and Awudum Area within the Tema East Municipal, between the period of 29th October and 7th November 2018.

The persons died from different medical conditions that are not linked and are not infectious.

The possible causes of deaths included the following: knife wounds, severe head injury, acute alcoholic intoxication, cardiac failure, lymphatic filariasis with cellulitis and ectopic pregnancy. Majority of these listed causes of death are actually lifestyle related.”

READ MORE:Tema Newtown: Residents rush for 'holy bath' at the beach

The findings from the team also said the causes of the death are not as infectious as speculated.

The authorities, however, said the situation would be monitored closely in the municipality.

The authorities also in the press statement warned  the public to adhere to the best health practices to avoid certain non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancers which are ‘ largely lifestyle-related’

“Investigations have started and are ongoing. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in the Municipality while we urge the general Ghanaian population to be wary of the increasing number of Non-Communicable Diseases including Hypertension, Diabetes, and cancers which are largely lifestyle related and call for adherence to healthy lifestyles” the statement noted.

The health authorities also said that the combined investigative team visited the houses of some of the deceased and interviewed some relatives as part of their fact-finding efforts.

The team of disclosed they visited hospitals in the communities and reviewed medical records of some affected residents.

“The team visited houses of the deceased, interviewed their relatives and community members and took part in a community meeting. The team also visited Tema General Hospital and Naval Base Clinic, interviewed health workers (clinicians and nurses) and reviewed medical records.”

The mysterious deaths at Tema Newtown continue to rise as another family has lost a member under strange circumstances.

Abraham Mensah, 60-year-old whom was rushed to the Tema General Hospital where he passed on according to reports was very fit suddenly and complained of chest pains.

Mary Mensah, his worried and upset sister, expressed shock at the sudden demise of his brother who was with her throughout the day.

“We were all together at home yesterday and he did not show signs of ailment so I’m very shocked,” she lamented.

Mary Mensah said his brother is part of about 18 people who died mysteriously under unexplained circumstances.

“My children and I performed the spiritual bath but I’m not sure my brother did. I’m praying it [the spiritual bath] works,” she stated.

Mary Mensah said fear-stricken residents are threatening to move from the area to prevent deaths.

She called on religious leaders in the area to come together and seek the face of God to avert the unfortunate deaths.

Even though the Ghana Health Service has dismissed claims of an outbreak by associating the deaths to lifestyle diseases, the situation appears to be getting out of hand.