To Fight Meningitis, Nigeria Launches A Quintuple Vaccine - CTN News

2024-04-15 20:28:40

CTN News l Chiang Rai Times

(CTN News) - Nigeria made history by becoming the first country to introduce the Men5CV vaccine, recommended by the WHO.

Organization for World Health (WHO). The meningococcus vaccine protects against five strains. The initiative, including emergency vaccinations, is funded by Gavi. Gavi helps low-income nations implement routine meningitis vaccinations and funds the meningitis vaccine stockpile.

Nigeria is one of 26 hyper-endemic African countries for meningitis located in the African Meningitis Belt. Meningitis cases across the continent jumped 50% last year.

With 1742 suspected cases of meningitis in Nigeria, including 101 confirmed cases, and 153 tragic fatalities, an outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis (meningococci) serogroup C has caused significant concern.

Between October 1, 2023, and March 11, 2024, there were 153 fatalities across seven Nigerian states (Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Yobe, Zamfara). A vaccination campaign targeting over one million people aged 1-29 has been launched from March 25 to 28, 2024.

Meningitis causes inflammation in the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. A virus, bacteria, fungi, or parasite can cause it. A headache, fever, and stiff neck are common symptoms. When you get bacterial meningitis, you can get blood poisoning, which can kill you or cause severe disability within 24 hours.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is optimistic that the new meningitis vaccine can stop future outbreaks and save countless lives. Nigeria's rollout is a major step toward eradicating meningitis by 2030, he said.

In a single shot, the new vaccine protects against all five major strains of meningococcal bacteria (A, C, W, Y, and X). They cause meningitis and blood poisoning. The vaccine is broader and more effective than the current vaccine widely used in Africa.

With this new vaccine, we'll be able to dramatically lower the incidence of meningitis and combat it better. Particularly for nations like Nigeria, where different serogroups are prevalent. It uses the same technology as MenAfriVac®, which completely eradicated meningococcal A epidemics in Nigeria.

Meningitis has been ravaging northern Nigeria, especially Jigawa, Bauchi, and Yobe. Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate of the Nigerian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare says this vaccine gives health workers a new tool to not just halt the outbreak, but to eliminate it one day. The vaccine rollout has been prepared extensively by the healthcare system and health workers.

The Emir of Gumel in Jigawa state, who personally launched the vaccination campaign, also expressed gratitude for the support they received from the community, especially during the fasting period. A close watch is planned on progress, with hopes of expanding immunization efforts in the coming months and years.

This groundbreaking multivalent conjugate vaccine was developed over 13 years by PATH and the Serum Institute of India. A lot of its success can be attributed to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's financial support.

The World Health Organization (WHO) approved MenFive®, a new Men5CV vaccine. Following that, WHO recommended this new vaccine to countries in October 2023.

In December 2023, Gavi allocated money for Men5CV. As of right now, the vaccine is available in the emergency stockpile managed by the International Coordinating Group (ICG). Campaigns to roll out Men5CV in the Meningitis Belt are expected to start in 2025.

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2024-04-15 News