Meningitis epidemics are a major concern in the 25-country area from Senegal to Ethiopia known as the “meningitis belt.” A communicable disease, meningitis affects large portions of the population, causes high rates of death and disability, and worsens the plight of families and communities in a region marked by extreme poverty.

 This policy brief, the first in the CIGI Junior Fellows Policy Brief series, provides background on the concentration of the disease in Sub-Saharan Africa, and on efforts to extend immunization coverage to all affected countries. The authors, Sarah Cruickshank and Samantha Grills, discuss three kinds of strategies that can be implemented to ensure that the maximum possible benefit is derived from the vaccine. Through the use of targeted policy strategies such as those recommended in this brief, the MenAfriVac™ vaccine can be made available to many more at-risk throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

The CIGI Junior Fellows program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs provides masters level students with mentorship opportunities from senior scholars and policy makers. Working under the direction of a project leader, each junior fellow conducts research in one of CIGI’s program areas. This series presents those policy briefs that met CIGI’s publications standards.