Monthly Archives: September 2013

Chad: Meningitis Vaccine Cuts Cases By 94 Per Cent

Thurs 12 September 2013 @ 16.30

A meningitis vaccine that has recently been rolled out in several African countries has reduced the incidence of the disease by 94 per cent in Chad after just a single dose per person, in what scientists say is a startling success for the new vaccine, called MenAfriVac.

And the presence of the bacteria responsible for the disease in people’s throats – carriage prevalence – dropped by 98 per cent, according to the study published in The Lancet today.

The research, based on an analysis of data from 1.8 million vaccinations in Chad, revealed that there were no cases of serogroup A meningococcal meningitis, the most dangerous strain of the disease, following vaccination.

“This is one of the most dramatic outcomes from a public health intervention that I have seen,” said lead author Brian Greenwood.

“There are now real prospects that the devastating effects of this infection in Africa can be prevented,” said Greenwood, a professor of clinical tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, which carried out the study together with the Centre de Support en Santé Internationale in Chad and other partners.

Deadly epidemics of meningitis A occur regularly in Sub-Saharan Africa’s meningitis belt, a band of 21 countries stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where around 450 million people are at risk.

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Children in Armed Conflict Abused and Exploited.

Hague Court Considers Nigeria Case

12 September 2013
Geneva — The Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict has said millions of children caught in armed conflict are victims of grave violations and subject to sexual violence and recruitment as child soldiers. The findings were made in a report that Leila Zerrougui has submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

All people caught in situations of conflict suffer, but children suffer the most, said Zerrougui, who added that many are killed and maimed. and often forced to witness and commit atrocities. Children are also arrested, detained, tortured and ill-treated for their alleged association with parties to conflict, she said.

Zerrougui reviewed the condition of children caught in armed conflict between June 2013 and July 2013 in Syria, Chad, Yemen, the Philippines and other nations at war. Of all the countries under review, she said Somalia remains the one with the largest number of children associated with armed groups.

“The relapse into conflict in Central African Republic and Eastern DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] has affected the most vulnerable, and children previously separated from armed groups and forces have been re-recruited,” Zerrougui said.

“Reports on the situation in these countries describe a continuing and alarming trend of grave violations committed against children. Children also bore the brunt of the conflict [that] broke out in northern Mali, where armed groups have recruited and used hundreds of children.”

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Somalia: Polio Outbreak Thwarts Global Eradication Effort

The global community came tantalizingly close earlier this year to ridding the world of polio. But then in May, the eradication effort took a powerful blow. The virus turned up again in the Horn of Africa, first in Somalia.

The Banadir region of Somalia, which includes a Mogadishu refugee camp, is thought to be the so-called “engine” of the Horn of Africa polio outbreak.

In June, three-year-old Mohamed Naasir became ill. His mother, Khadija Abdullahi Adam, said soon after one leg became permanently disabled.

“My son was fine, but he started having a high fever which lasted for almost four days,” she explained. “I gave him medicine, but there was no change. The following morning he said to me ‘Mom, I can’t stand up.'”

The virus has spread at a rapid pace, triggering massive vaccination efforts.

Earlier in 2013, polio was confined to three so-called “endemic countries” — Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan — where the virus has never been snuffed out. Combined there were fewer than 100 cases in those three countries.

Since the virus re-emerged in the Horn of Africa, there have been at least 160 polio cases in Somalia alone, and the virus has spread to Kenya and Ethiopia.

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