By Asmau Ahmad with Agency Report
The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved an effective and affordable vaccine for meningitis called MenAfriVac to be injected on vulnerable children. This is contained in statement issued by the UN Health Agency, on Saturday in Nairobi. It said the routine immunization on infants in the meningitis hotspots across Sub- Saharan Africa would commence to reduce fatalities associated with the disease.
“The introduction of meningitis vaccine has dealt the epidemic a fatal blow.
“ Nonetheless, there is need for political commitment in meningitis belt countries in Africa to contain the disease,” it quoted Jean Marie Okeo-Bele, WHO Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biological to have said.
She said WHO had partnered with global health nonprofit-PATH and Serum Institute of India Limited (SIIL) to form the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP). She added that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation bankrolled the research and development of the Meningitis vaccine. She added that during clinical trials in several African countries, MenAfriVac reduced new meningitis infections and deaths among infants.
Dr Marie–Pierre Preziosi, Director of MVP, said Health officials would be able to ensure that population wide protection was sustained by routinely immunizing infants.
“The new meningitis vaccine meets the international standards on quality, safety and efficacy.
“Experts said it can be administered to one year old infants in meningitis hotspots,’’ .Preziosi said.
Also, Kathy Neuzil, Director of Vaccine Access and delivery, said With MenAfriVac, a revolutionary new model for vaccine development had been created. “Now we stand on the brink of protecting an entire generation from a devastating disease.
“Innovative public private partnership and political commitment fast-tracked the development of a meningitis vaccine for African infants.
According to her, Experts hailed the role of vaccines in tackling contagious diseases that kill and maim a large population in sub-Saharan Africa.