151 million: That’s the number of people between the age of 1 and 29 years in Africa’s meningitis belt who, as of the end of 2013, no longer have to fear meningitis A. Today, they’re protected by the MenAfriVac® vaccine through the efforts of the Meningitis Vaccine Project, the Serum Institute of India Ltd., and partners worldwide.
151 million: It’s a number so big, it helps to put it into perspective. Picture 94,736 soccer fans at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. Now, picture almost 1,594 more—not just people, but stadiums full of people. Since the vaccine’s launch in 2010, we’ve reached that many children, young people, and adults. And to date, there has not been a single reported case of meningitis A in a vaccinated person—and no reported safety concerns.
In the last quarter of 2013, vaccine introductions in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and The Gambia contributed to this success. In Ethiopia, organizers brought the vaccine to more than 18.6 million people; future efforts will reach an estimated 40 million more. In Nigeria, the third phase of a national campaign reached 21.2 million people, and a fourth phase is planned. Early data from The Gambia suggest that a national campaign reached the entire target population—more than 1.2 million people—in just six days. In Cameroon and Chad, smaller efforts provided vaccines to nomadic, rural, and refugee communities. And as we begin 2014, organizers in Sudan have already made an early start, with a campaign reaching 7.2 million people. As always, these campaigns, and future improvements, are supported by in-depth monitoring and evaluation.
Together, our efforts brought lifesaving protection to more than 48.3 million people in 2013 and prepared us to accomplish even more this year. With your support, and the support of other partners, we’re kicking meningitis out of Africa. Thank you!
The Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP) is a partnership between PATH and the World Health Organization. Started in 2001 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the mission of the MVP is to eliminate meningitis as a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa through the development, testing, introduction, and widespread use of conjugate meningococcal vaccines. MenAfriVac® is a registered trademark of Serum Institute of India Ltd.