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Burkina Faso

New vaccine provides protection against meningitis in Burkina Faso

© UNICEF Burkina Faso/2010/Bkonaté
Residents of a village near Banfora, Burkina Faso line up to receive the new meningitis vaccine, which provides up to 10 years protection from the disease.

By Bouréima Konaté

BANFORA, Burkina Faso, 30 December 2010 – The villages of Dègue Dègue and Nofesso are situated 60 km east and south, respectively, from the town of Banfora in western Burkina Faso. In early December 2010, health centres in these villages were set astir as communities and families gathered en masse to receive the new meningitis vaccine.

Known as MenAfriVac, the vaccine is targeted towards children and young people between the ages of 1 and 29, providing up to 10 years of protection from the disease.  This message, which was spread through mass and interpersonal communication channels, resonated strongly, and as a result, communities have spared no efforts in getting vaccinated.

Vaccine protects against ‘serious disease’

Mamina, 37, from the village of Dègue Dègue, has come to the health centre with her two children, who are seven months and three years old. She is well aware that only one of her children should receive the new meningitis vaccine. “My son Binta has been vaccinated and I am very happy,” she says. “Meningitis is a serious disease and can kill. Thank goodness my child is now protected against meningitis for the next 10 years.”

© UNICEF Burkina Faso/2010/Bkonaté
Binta smiles after receiving his meningitis vaccination in Burkina Faso.

Having witnessed the devastating impact of this potentially fatal disease with her own eyes, Mamina tells the story of her 21-year-old neighbour who died from meningitis two years ago. She has two older children aged eight and ten who have been vaccinated at school.

“This vaccination campaign does not apply to me because of my age. But the most important thing is that my children have been vaccinated,” she says. 

Sambo, 27, from the village of Nofesso - which lies close to the border of Côte d’Ivoire - is surrounded by women and children all of whom are within the targeted age range to receive the vaccine. “I know that meningitis is a serious disease,” he states.  “This vaccine is the only way to protect oneself from the illness. We, my two wives, my four children and I, have all been vaccinated. My family is now safe from meningitis.”



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