08 Dec Winning Hearts and Minds with a Vaccine? by Dr. Orin Levine
Meningitis is an awful disease. It comes on suddenly, kills frequently, disables its survivors for life, and devastates families economically and emotionally. When it occurs in epidemics, as it does frequently in Africa’s “Meningitis Belt“, it has the power to disrupt entire communities and health systems (see recent blogs).
But bacterial meningitis does not have to continue to be a major health problem in Africa, or anywhere for that matter. The leading causes of bacterial meningitis — known as Hib, pneumococcus, and meningococcus — all have safe, effective vaccines. The most recent addition to this set is an inexpensive meningococcal conjugate vaccine against serogroup A meningitis that was born out of a partnership between the World Health Organization, Seattle-based PATH, and an India-based vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India.