News / Health

    Over 1 Million in Guinea Get Meningitis Vaccine

    FILE - Health organizations have launched a vaccination campaign to curb the spread of meningitis in Guinea. Here, a youngster cries as he's inoculated in Senegal near the border with Guinea.
    FILE - Health organizations have launched a vaccination campaign to curb the spread of meningitis in Guinea. Here, a youngster cries as he's inoculated in Senegal near the border with Guinea.
    Jennifer Lazuta
    More than 1.1 million people have been successfully vaccinated against meningitis in eastern Guinea, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organization (WHO).
     
    Health workers in Guinea say the mass vaccination campaign could help stop a deadly outbreak of meningitis, which has claimed at least 52 lives since the first cases were reported in January.
     
    The country had an estimated 400 suspected cases last year, according to the WHO. 
     
    Meningitis, which inflames the protective tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord, is passed from person to person by way of bacteria that live in the throat.  It most often affects children and young adults. According to the WHO website, symptoms commonly include headaches, high fever and a stiff neck.  Meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial form of the illness, can cause severe brain damage and, if untreated, kills half its victims.
     
    Experts say vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease and stop its spread.
     
     “In Guinea, only [around] 35 percent of the children are fully vaccinated,” said Timothy La Rose, spokesman for the U.N. Children’s Fund in Guinea.
     
    La Rose, in an interview with VOA in the capital city of Conakry, said UNICEF had joined with the government, WHO and other partners to launch “a campaign to vaccinate 95 percent of people ages 1 to 29 who live in the affected areas.”
     
    In the ‘meningitis belt’
     
    Guinea lies in the “meningitis belt,” a part of Africa stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east that sees regular outbreaks of the disease.
     
    La Rose said UNICEF and its partners also conducted community awareness campaigns to educate people about meningitis and the importance of getting vaccinated.
     
    Previous vaccination campaigns either have halted or dramatically slowed outbreaks, he said.
     
    Obstacles to campaign
     
    Communicating information is one hurdle in the vaccination campaign. Building sufficient infrastructure is another.
     
    La Rose pointed out that the vaccines generally need to be refrigerated. “You can imagine in a country with electricity problems and infrastructure issues, it can be quite a challenge,” he said, adding it was a challenge “to keep the cold chain strong so that the vaccinations would not expire or go bad during the transport and delivery.”
     
    Incidentally, a pilot program indicated constant refrigeration was not essential for delivering viable meningitis vaccine in rural Africa, JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported earlier this year, citing study results published in the journal Vaccine.
     
    La Rose said UNICEF has been working with local health centers to distribute antibiotics to treat children who contract meningitis.
     
    He said UNICEF plans to offer a second round of vaccinations later this year.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Borba
    June 19, 2014 12:22 PM
    give the children the Guinea a action plan to end with deaths avoidable

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora