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Integrating Meningitis A Vaccine Into Routine Immunization Programs Important Next Step For African Leaders

Project Syndicate: Defeating Meningitis in Africa
Chris Elias, president of Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Sixteen years ago, African health ministers, the international health NGO PATH, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Serum Institute of India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and dozens of other partners formed the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP). The mission was simple: to develop an affordable vaccine to fight meningitis A in Africa. The project was successful. In less than 10 years, the MenAfriVac vaccine was launched and has produced an immediate and dramatic break in the cycle of meningitis A epidemics. … The MVP stands as a powerful example of what is possible when African leaders and experts from across the spectrum of global health work together. Strong, temporary partnerships, with a focused goal, can have truly catalytic effects. But the work is far from over. Last year, the WHO approved MenAfriVac for use in regular vaccine schedules, making it possible for millions more to be protected. … The task before African leaders is to ensure a smooth and full transition from mass vaccination campaigns to routine immunization…” (3/2).

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