Risk of meningitis A outbreak due to delayed vaccines, WHO states

Friday, September 9th, 2022 09:00 | By
Risk of meningitis A outbreak due to delayed vaccines, WHO states
World Health Organisation.

With the Covid-19 pandemic delaying meningitis vaccination campaigns for more than 50 million children in Africa, the region is at a heightened risk of outbreaks of meningitis type A.

The revelation was made by the World Health Organization (WHO) during the launch of a roadmap aimed at stopping bacterial meningitis outbreaks which have nearly been eliminated on the continent by 2030.

“Based on reports from countries, WHO found that meningitis control activities were reduced by 50 percent in 2020 compared with 2019, with a slight improvement in 2021.

Benin, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, and Togo delayed campaigns with the MenAfriVac vaccine aimed at protecting a total of 50 million children under 12 years of age against meningitis type A,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Heightened lobbying

According to Moeti, the new regional strategy sets out a roadmap for countries to shore up diagnosis, surveillance, care, advocacy, and vaccination to eliminate outbreaks, curb deaths by 70 per cent and halve infections.

WHO estimates that US$ 1.5 billion will be required between now and 2030 to implement the plan, which if countries fully adopt will save more than 140 000 lives every year in the region and significantly reduce disability.

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