The World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners has launched the first ever global strategy to defeat meningitis, a dangerous inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, predominantly caused by infection with bacteria and viruses.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hinted this on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 in Geneva.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that meningitis was one of the preventable epidemics ravaging the country.
According to Dr. Tedros, the global strategies’ goals were to eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis, reduce deaths by 70% and halve the number of cases by 2030. The organisations estimated that, the strategy could save more than 200,000 lives annually and significantly reduce disability caused by the disease.
“Wherever it occurs, meningitis can be deadly and debilitating; it strikes quickly, has serious health, economic and social consequences, and causes devastating outbreaks,
“It is time to tackle meningitis globally once and for all, by urgently expanding access to existing tools like vaccines, spearheading new research and innovation to prevent, detecting and treating the various causes of the disease, and improving rehabilitation for those affected,” said the WHO Director-General.
Speaking about the risks posed by Meningitis on the African continent, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said:
“More than half a billion Africans are at risk of seasonal meningitis outbreaks but the disease has been off the radar for too long.
“This shift away from firefighting outbreaks to strategic response can’t come soon enough. This roadmap will help protect the health and lives of hundreds of thousands of families who every year fear this disease,” she said.
“We must be united in our efforts to end all preventable childhood diseases, including bacterial meningitis.
In the same vein, UNICEF Director of Health Programmes, Dr. Aboubacar Kampo pledged that his organisation would support the fight against the disease:
“UNICEF has been supporting governments for decades, facilitating the delivery of life-saving meningitis vaccines. Still, far too many children are succumbing to this and other preventable diseases, and the situation is only worsening as a result of the pandemic.
“We need to act decisively to strengthen primary health care and get routine immunization back on track, before more children face adverse health outcomes, or loss of life inflicted by meningitis and other preventable infectious diseases,” he said.
The Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis by 2030, was launched by a broad coalition of partners involved in meningitis prevention and control, it is focused on preventing infections and improving care and diagnosis for those affected.