With the 2010-2011 epidemic season largely over, surveillance data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO) show just four confirmed cases of meningitis A in Burkina Faso, the first country to introduce the vaccine nationwide. Three of the four cases occurred in individuals from neighboring Togo who crossed the border for medical care, and the fourth case was a citizen of Burkina Faso who had not received the new vaccine. No confirmed cases were reported in Mali, while four cases were reported in Niger, all in unvaccinated individuals. While these initial data are extremely encouraging, continuing surveillance for cases of meningitis and robust systems for monitoring vaccination coverage will be crucial to confirm the impact of the vaccine as it is introduced across the meningitis belt.
Six months ago, the three West African countries were the first to introduce a revolutionary new vaccine called MenAfriVac™, vaccinating nearly 20 million people in a massive immunization campaign. While Burkina Faso launched the vaccine nationwide, immunizing close to 100% of its target population, Mali and Niger opted for a phased approach, with campaigns in districts at highest risk conducted in late 2010 and the remainder to be conducted in late 2011.
Planning is now under way for a new round of immunization campaigns in 2011-2012. Campaigns will be finalized in Mali and Niger, and new campaigns will begin in Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria, providing a contiguous block of immunized populations across the heart of the meningitis belt. Counting those vaccinated during the December 2010 campaigns, nearly 65 million people are expected to have received the MenAfriVac vaccine by the end of the year.
Experts from PATH, WHO, and partner organizations are supporting the ministries of health in Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria in determining appropriate strategies for vaccine introduction to ensure sufficient vaccine supplies and availability of health care personnel, as well as adequate disease surveillance and vaccine safety monitoring systems.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.