Mass meningitis vaccination campaign begins in West Africa

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doctor vaccinating a patient

A major vaccination campaign against meningitis has been launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) in West Africa.

WHO is aiming to protect 22 million people between the ages of one and 29 from the disease, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

The agency says it is introducing a new meningitis vaccine called MenAfriVac designed specifically to eliminate Group A meningitis, that causes severe brain damage and death in 50% of cases if untreated.

WHO spokesperson Alison Brunier says the campaign will initially cover Nigeria, Cameroun and Chad.

"Introduction of the vaccine in the other 19 countries in the "African Meningitis belt" stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia is expected to take place between now and 2016. It's based on a roll out plan that has been elaborated by WHO and partners, and obviously with the ministries of health concerned, as well as on vaccine availability."
 
Duration:  23″
Benin, Sudan, Senegal and Ghana are introducing the vaccine next year.

By 2016 it's expected that around 300 million people will have been vaccinated.

Filed under Today's News.
UN Radio Daily News Programme
UN Radio Daily News Programme
Updated at 1800 GMT, Monday to Friday
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