Since the beginning of the year through May 7, Niger has reported 3,037 meningococcal meningitis cases, including 179 fatalities.

Image/Alvaro1984 18
Image/Alvaro1984 18

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has deployed several emergency teams in Niger in order to contain the meningitis C outbreak that has been affecting many regions of the country since March.

More than 358,800 people between two and 20 years of age were vaccinated in the 24 health areas that had reached alert or epidemic thresholds.

“As with the meningitis outbreaks of previous years, we have responded to the emergency in areas where the population has been the most affected. Our teams have supported the Ministry of Public Health in managing the vaccination campaign in several districts of the town of Niamey, and also in the regions of Tillabéry, Dosso and Tahoua where more than 75 per cent of cases have been recorded,” explains Félix Kouassi, Head of Mission for MSF in Niger. “Vaccination plays a vital role in coping with the burden of this disease. That is why it is important that manufacturers are able to guarantee a sufficient global quantity of vaccinations and at an affordable price.”

Meningitis epidemics in Africa are most prevalent in the “meningitis belt” (approximately 25 countries) that stretches across sub-Saharan Africa. About 450 million people live in this area.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial disease that causes serious infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.