IVI and Niger
Strengthening Surveillance and Response Against Meningitis in Niger
The Strengthening Epidemiologic Surveillance and Response Against Meningitis in Niger Program was launched in 2010 with funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). This program aimed to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with meningitis outbreaks in Niger by strengthening the country’s capacity in meningitis surveillance and mass immunization, and providing technical support to the country in its introduction of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, MenAfriVacTM.
MenAfriVacTM, is a low-cost vaccine (≈$0.40 per dose) that can be used in infants and provides longer-term protection in individuals of all ages, which means it can be used to prevent outbreaks from occurring. The vaccine was developed through the Meningitis Vaccine Project, a partnership between PATH and the WHO, and received WHO prequalification in June 2010.
Beginning in early 2010, IVI provided technical assistance to the government of Niger in its efforts to combat meningococcal meningitis, which included strengthening the country’s capacity in meningococcal meningitis surveillance and immunization in preparation for the introduction of the Group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine.
In May 2010, IVI coordinated a reactive mass vaccination campaign in Tillaberi region using existing polysaccharide vaccines, and helped procure vaccines for this campaign. In late 2010, IVI also provided technical support to the government for the pilot introduction of the Group A vaccine in Filingue district and for the mass vaccination campaigns using the vaccine in Tillaberi, Niamey, and Dosso regions.
In 2011, as a follow on to the multiple-phased mass vaccination campaigns that occurred in 2010, IVI conducted vaccination coverage surveys and surveillance of adverse events following immunization. The results were very positive – estimated vaccine coverage was 77.4% for the three regions where the campaign took place and minimal adverse reactions were reported.
IVI also supported Phase III of vaccine introduction by providing technical assistance for an immunization campaign that took place from November to December 2011 throughout Niger. Additionally, IVI helped build capacity by assisting in the construction of four cold rooms and two incinerators – which greatly improved the vaccine supply and storage chain – and by providing diagnostic kits and medical supplies to Niger’s Ministry of Health. These efforts strengthened Niger’s capacity to control meningococcal meningitis through immunization.