The meningitis outbreak in Togo has so far seen 666 cases and 57 related deaths reported as of 24 February.
Plan International, in partnership with the Togolese government, is carrying out a vaccination campaign as part of the response to tackle the spread of the disease.
Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the membrane covering the brain and the spinal cord, and is associated with a significant risk of death. While most people with meningitis recover, it can cause serious complications, such as brain damage or learning disabilities.
In the Central Region – one of Plan International Togo’s programme units – meningitis vaccinations are in full swing. Communities are gathering together to get their jab, in a bid to halt the outbreak and raise awareness of the issue.
Vital meningitis protection
According to Dr Hilim, Director of Health (DPS) in Sotouboua, Togo: “So far, 15,409 people, age 2-29, have been vaccinated in the Plain of Mo. This equals 56% of our target population. The campaign will continue for 5 days, so the figures are encouraging.”
Vaccinations are taking place in schools and health centres, while mobile teams travel to the villages. To ensure as many people as possible are attending, Plan International has been joining forces with the government to raise awareness amongst health workers and community members.
“On the ground, we are encouraging villagers – in particular young people – to get vaccinated,” says Adji Nare, Community Development Facilitator for Plan International Togo. “The community is keen to prevent the spread of meningitis.”
According to community members these vaccines are saving them and their children. They are also learning how to avoid meningitis, what to do if they suspect they have contracted it as well as sharing their knowledge with others.
"I do not want my daughter to catch it"
One community member who is making full use of the vaccination campaign is Adjoa, who has come to the health centre to vaccinate her 3-year-old daughter.
“Meningitis is a serious issue. I do not want my daughter to catch it. My other 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys, are now being vaccinated at school. I was informed of vaccination because there have been awareness-raising sessions in the village,'' says Adjoa.
Plan International is committed to raising awareness of meningitis amongst communities and more.
According to Dr Hilim, “Plan International Togo has provided 5,000 vaccines as well as logistical support which has helped us reach even the most remote communities.”
Read more about Plan International’s response to the Togo meningitis outbreak
Learn more about meningitis via the WHO website