Meningitis A

Meningitis A is a bacterial infection that inflames the lining of the brain and spinal cord and can lead to deafness, brain damage, or death. In the 26 sub-Saharan African countries that comprise Africa’s “meningitis belt”—an area spanning The Gambia to Ethiopia—epidemics strike during the dry season, killing and disabling tens of thousands. With the introduction of a new vaccine, cases are declining.

Combating Meningitis A

The Shefa Fund, with guidance from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, made the bold decision to become an early supporter of a new, innovative vaccine to prevent meningitis A. Today, MenAfriVac (vaccine) is highly effective and tailor-made for preventing meningitis A in Africa. The Shefa Fund’s support was pivotal to the early success of the vaccine roll-out, which ultimately reached more than 270 million people across the region.

What Our Granting Achieved


incinerators purchased to safely dispose of used syringes


vaccination cards printed in Nigeria

The Shefa Fund’s $2.45 million grant to the WHO supported the introduction of MenAfriVac in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan, and The Gambia.

Our Grantees Working to Combat Meningitis A

The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a part of the United Nations. The agency focuses on international public health, with the aim of building a better, healthier future for people all over the world.

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1 Banner, 2 Combating Meningitis A, 3 & 4 Granting | Photo Credit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

5 Granting | Photo Credit Frederic Courbet