Friday, September 5, 2008

African Nations Commit to Better Meningitis Vaccine

At the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) meeting held in early September, 25 African countries spread across the meningitis belt agreed to invest in a new and affordable and better meningitis vaccine in order to reduce the spread of meningtis.

Rather than be reactionary to epidemics, they are being proactive to preventing unspeakable outbreaks which can devastate families for generations to come.

The meningitis prevention and control strategy will introduce and start to immunize between 2009 and 2015 a population of approximately 250 million people aged 1 to 29 years including 23 million infants. The initiative was funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The new product, conjugate meningococcal A vaccine or MenAfriVac was developed through the Meningitis Vaccine Project, a product development partnership between WHO and the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), a non-governmental organization.

Meningitis outbreaks have devastated communities in the poorest countries of Africa for many years. Children are especially at risk.

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