A new affordable vaccine against Group A meningococcus, the most common cause of large and often fatal African epidemics of meningitis, was introduced in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger in 2010. Widespread use of the vaccine throughout much of Africa may prevent more than a million cases of meningitis over the next decade. The new vaccine is expected to be cost-saving when compared to current expenditures on these epidemics; for example, an analysis shows that introducing it in seven highly endemic countries could save $350 million or more over a decade. International donors have already committed funds to support the new vaccine’s introduction in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali, but an estimated US$400 million is needed to fund mass immunization campaigns in people ages 1–29 over six years in all twenty-five countries of the African meningitis belt. The vaccine’s low cost—less than fifty cents per dose—makes it possible for the affected countries themselves to purchase vaccines for future birth cohorts.
LaForce, F.M.; Okwo-Bele, J.M. Eliminating Epidemic Group A Meningococcal Meningitis In Africa Through A New Vaccine. Health Affairs (2011) 30 (6) 1049-1057. [DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0328]