With years of experience campaigning for access to essential medicines in South African, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) fieldworker Claire Waterhouse, fou
Meningitis: "When I was younger, I got meningitis. It affected my vision"
For yet another year, Nigeria and Niger are facing severe outbreaks of meningitis C. Both countries are part of the ‘meningitis belt’, a region that stretches across the continent from Senegal to Ethiopia, and is particularly affected by the disease during the dry season. From 13 December 2016 to 14 May 2017, a total of 13,943 suspected cases and 1,112 deaths of meningitis have been reported from 24 states in Nigeria, according to WHO. In Niger, between 1 January and 7 May, there were 179 deaths from meningitis out of a total of 3,037 recorded cases, mainly in the west of the country, according to the Ministry of Health.
MSF has supported the Ministry of Health response in Nigeria and Niger, with surveillance, case management and helping with the vaccination of more than 740,400 people in both countries. Meningitis outbreaks are recurrent in this region and vaccination would be the best solution for avoiding them. Unfortunately, there is insufficient vaccine production to preventively vaccinate against meningitis C, the most common serogroup in the region in the last years although there are also cases from other serogroups in these outbreaks.