Niger: meningitis epidemic - humedica helps by means of vaccinations

by Simone Winneg/Irmgard Harms/SRI,  2009/05/04

For some weeks now, a meningitis epidemic has been spreading in Niger, starting from the east of the country. Also in the surroundings of Kollo, where humedica has been running a hospital for two months now and where about 80 persons a day receive medical treatment, more than 140 cases have already become known. humedica helps by means of running a large-scale vaccination campaign, which is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Since our hospital here is contributing substantially to improving the local health infrastructure, humedica is a member of the crisis committee in Kollo, which takes decisions regarding further actions. Our support is urgently needed in order to overcome this crisis.

More than 100,000 people in Niger are being vaccinated against meningitis by humedica. Photo: Simone Winneg/humedica

The large-scale vaccination campaign which is supported by the Federal Foreign Office has been running for some days now and will serve to protect the population and to prevent the disease, which often causes death if it is not treated accordingly, from spreading further. It is little children who are most often killed by the epidemic, since their immune system is already weak due to malnutrition and is hardly ever strong enough to ward off another disease.

Unfortunately, the district is unable to ensure this campaign to be carried through in the entire district and to provide medical treatment to all those already suffering from the disease: the quantity of vaccines and drugs, as well as the infrastructure is by far not sufficient enough to provide for the entire district.

humedica will coordinate and implement the vaccination campaign in cooperation with the authorities of the district of Kollo. More than another 100,000 persons aged between two and 30 years, i.e. the part of the population most prone to the disease, will be vaccinated against meningitis.

Meningitis spreads above all during the hot and dry season, when temperatures climb up to 50 degrees Celsius, and every year several persons die of it. Vaccination coverage simply is too low, since many people have no access to medical treatment and unfortunately often live too far away from the vaccination centres.

By means of this sufficient vaccination campaign, we are able to take prophylactic measures for the population and to save lives. Furthermore, the vaccine protection lasts for three years and hence high vaccination coverage can contribute to effectively preventing the disease also the following year, maybe even the year after that. In any case there will certainly be far less cases of meningitis.

humedica would like to ask friends and sponsors, as well as visitors of this page to continue their generous support of our important work in Niger by means of a targeted donation:
humedica e. V.
Donation reference "Emergency relief Niger"
Account 47 47
Bank Code 734 500 00
Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Please also donate online by clicking on the following link: a href="">Emergency Relief Niger.
Thank you very much for any kind of support.

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