Nigeria and Niger are the worst hit countries in the world of by meningttis , a report by the Wolrd Health Organisation has revealed
About 25,000 suspected meningitis cases and more than 15,000 deaths have resulted from meningitis worldwide in the first three months of 2009
The bulk of the cases in the meningitis belt, stretching from Senegal to Somalia, has been in northern Nigeria, reporting 17,462 suspected cases and 960 deaths, and Niger, with 4,513 suspected cases and 169 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Vaccination campaigns are underway in the two countries, with the support of WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the non-governmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
WHO, which is supporting the Nigerian Health Ministry’s efforts to boost disease surveillance, has had technical experts on the ground since last month.
Along with its partners, WHO has released 2.3 million doses of vaccines to Nigeria and 1.9 million to Niger. Nearly 13 million doses were stockpiled for 2009, but more are needed for this meningitis season which will run from January through June.