•Meningitis is a rare infection that affects the delicate membranes called meninges that cover the brain and spinal cord
•The national elimination plan aims to effectively combat meningitis and mitigate its impact on individuals and communities
The Ministry of Health has begun the process of developing a comprehensive meningitis elimination plan.
Meningitis is a rare infection that affects the delicate membranes called meninges that cover the brain and spinal cord.
The plan is being developed by the ministry in support of the World Health Organization and seeks to ensure the disease is completely eliminated by 2030.
“The national elimination plan aims to effectively combat meningitis and mitigate its impact on individuals and communities,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry has acknowledged that Meningitis has been a persistent global healthcare challenge over the past two decades and continues to have its highest prevalence in Africa.
“The primary goal is to eradicate bacterial meningitis epidemics, reduce preventable cases and fatalities, and enhance the overall resilience of Kenya's healthcare system by 2030,” the ministry said.
According to WHO, meningitis can be caused by several species of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites and can affect people of any age but young children are most at risk.
The global health agency further says that most infections can be transmitted from person to person adding that injuries, cancers and drugs cause a small number of cases.
WHO says bacterial meningitis is the most common dangerous type of meningitis and can be fatal within 24 hours.
“One in five people surviving an episode of bacterial meningitis may have long-lasting after-effects,” WHO warns.
“These after-effects include hearing loss, seizures, limb weakness, difficulties with vision, speech, language, memory, and communication, as well as scarring and limb amputations after sepsis,” it adds.
Common symptoms of meningitis are neck stiffness, fever, confusion or altered mental status, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
Less frequent symptoms are seizures, coma and neurological deficits (for example hearing or vision loss, cognitive impairment, or weakness of the limbs).
Despite there being effective treatments and vaccines against some of the main bacterial causes of meningitis, meningitis remains a significant threat around the world.