08 Dec Africa’s Meningitis Belt Gets First Vaccine Designed for Poor Nations
Public health triumphs like this don’t come along every day.
An array of public and private health groups is launching a cheap new vaccine against bacterial meningitis the first ever designed for Africa. Before now, vaccines and most other medicines have been developed for wealthy markets and retrofitted, sometimes, for poorer nations.
That wasn’t working in Africa’s so-called meningitis belt — a swath of 25 countries that stretches from Senegal on the Atlantic coast to Ethiopia on the Horn of Africa. Every winter, with the onset of the dry, dust-laden Harmattan winds, Central Africa braces for epidemics of bacterial meningitis.