Over 150 people died due to an outbreak of the disease in the African nation between October and March this year, according to WHO © WHO/Ayodamola Olufunto Owoseye

Nigeria has rolled out a new meningitis vaccine – Men5CV – becoming the first country in the world to do so, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday, hailing the move as a step closer to the global goal of eliminating the disease by 2030.

The former British colony launched an emergency vaccination campaign late last month, seeking to reach more than 1 million people aged 1-29, the WHO said in a statement published on its website. The vaccination activities are funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which also funds the global meningitis vaccine stockpile and assists low-income countries with routine immunization against infection, the statement added.

Meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, as well as bloodstream infections, both of which can quickly become fatal. The bacteria are sp

“Northern Nigeria, particularly the states of Jigawa, Bauchi, and Yobe, were badly hit by the deadly outbreak of meningitis, and this vaccine provides health workers with a new tool to both stop this outbreak and also put the country on a path to elimination,” Nigerian Health Minister Muhammad Ali Pate said.

The Men5CV vaccine, which has the brand name MenFive, was developed over a 13-year period in partnership between the non-profit Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and the Serum Institute of India, with funding from the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. WHO approved the serum last July, and in October, it issued an official recommendation to countries to begin using it. (RT)