Niger Steps Up Efforts to Fight Meningitis

In three months the country recorded 345 cases of the meningitis the epidemic with 45 deaths.

The government of Niger has stepped up measures to fight the meningitis epidemic that has hit the country since January 2015. “From January 1 to March 29, 2015, some 345 cases of meningitis, including 45 fatalities, have been reported, which is a fatality rate of 15.3 per cent,” Health Minister, Mano Aghali said on Saturday, April 4, 2015, Mail Online quoted.

While stating that the situation was under control, Mano Aghali disclosed that the authorities have distributed 13,500 doses of the vaccine and medicines are being administered free of charge within zones suffering from the epidemic. Concerning details on the epidemic situation in the country, the Health Minister said the capital Niamey is one of the hardest hit areas, with 18 deaths among 119 cases, while neighbouring Dosso has seen 18 deaths from 157 cases. All regions, except Diffa in the southeast, have seen cases. Compared to the meningitis epidemic in 2008, more cases have been reported, but with a lower fatality rate, World Health Organisation (WHO) reports.

Meningitis is a disease that causes an inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord and can cause death within hours. It is usually bacterial or viral and occasionally is due to fungal infections, although almost any microbe can cause it.

Located in the Sahel zone, Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and is frequently prone to meningitis epidemics. This is because the country it is found in the African meningitis belt that stretches from Senegal in the West to Ethiopia in the East, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports say. The 2009-2010 West African meningitis outbreak report shows the epidemic occurred in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. The report equally indicates that a total of 13,516 people were infected with meningitis and 931 people died.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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