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Meningitis (Nigeria)

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department has taken in response to the meningitis epidemic in (a) the Nigerian state of Zangara and (b) Burkina Faso. [99348]

Epidemic Meningococcal Disease (EMD) is a contagious disease responsible for high number of deaths throughout the world, with up to 50 per cent. of victims dying in the developing world. Of those who survive, between 10–20 per cent. suffer permanent brain damage.Epidemic meningococcal disease imposes its greatest burden on a group of 18 countries that form the so-called "African meningitis belt", stretching from Ethiopia to Senegal. Epidemics can be devastating, sometimes flaring up to as many as 100,000 cases in a very short period of time. In the absence of mass vaccination, an epidemic can last for several months, draining enormous resources, overwhelming hospitals and disrupting routine care.The strategy to control a meningitis epidemic has three components: early detection of outbreaks, emergency mass immunization campaigns, and careful case management.The Government of Nigeria has not approached DFID to respond to the epidemic In Zamfara. However DFID supports WHO in all its work. This includes the valuable efforts to support Governments tackle epidemics. WHO are involved in supporting the Government of Burkina Faso in their surveillance and clinical service delivery. In addition, WHO has been working with GSK (vaccine manufacturer) and Gates Foundation to ensure adequate quantities of appropriate vaccine.