Meningitis continue to be the major public health problem in the world and most importantly in the meningitis belt, an area stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia). For several years, epidemics of meningitis in the meningitis belt have been caused by meningococci serogroup A, but in recent days, outbreaks caused by meningococci of serogroup C,W or X have also been reported.
In Ethiopia, during 2001–2010, a median of 1,056 suspected meningitis cases per year were reported to the WHO. The fact that Ethiopia as a country is not wholly in the belt, suggesting that there may be different epidemiology for meningococcal disease in Eastern Ethiopia and Western Ethiopia (the meningitis belt). It has been also suggested that, the strain diversity in Ethiopia and Senegal were more than other the belt countries.
In Ethiopia, MenA conjugate vaccine was introduced in the years 2013-2015 through a mass campaign but cases of meningitis still abound. The main reason could be following the campaign MenA vaccine was not introduced into the routine immunisation programme and there was no mass vaccination after 2015. This leaves four annual cohort of children, unvaccinated and susceptible for meningitis.
The Meningitis surveillance set by WHO in Ethiopia indicates that, the country has many clinical cases of meningitis but identifies few pathogens and the data lack the specificity to impact on national policy. The CHAMPS-Ethiopia has identified the problem of meningococcal sepsis/meningitis through its DeCoDe.
In this Data-to-action grant, we aim to bring together existing data and new data to answer questions and to raise awareness of the problem of Meningococcal disease in the locality, and at National level, and develop tools to advocate for better control and prevention.
- To raise awareness of meningitis and sepsis, and of meningococcal disease and MenA vaccine among parents within the CHAMPS study area, and among clinical staff in the hospitals and improve access to and use of treatment.
- To strengthen and augment national surveillance by establishing a fourth node (Harar) and improving laboratory based diagnosis.
- To collate and analyse all existing surveillance and research data on Meningitis/Sepsis in Ethiopia and communicate both the findings and the data-gaps to public health actors and policy makers.
- To undertake a two-sample cross-sectional survey of oropharyngeal carriage of meningococci, one in the West one in the East (Harar) to understand how the epidemiology of transmission has changed since MenA introduction
- To communicate the results of #3 and #4 to policy makers at EPHI and FMOH to assist in refining policy for the management, control and prevention of meningitis.