Sunday school students of the Manahawkin United Methodist Church help fight the spread of Meningitis in Africa. Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Though rarely seen here in the United States, Meningitis is ravaging the child population in sub-Saharan Africa. Each year thousands of children die from this disease and approximately 10 to 20 percent of survivors are left with permanent aftereffects such as mental retardation, deafness, epilepsy, or other neurological disorders.
The World Health Organization in partnership with PATH created the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP). The mission of the MVP is to eliminate meningitis as a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa through the development, testing, introduction, and widespread use of conjugate meningococcal vaccines. From this partnership MenAfriVac™ was created, a vaccine to be delivered to the children in Africa. The cost of each vaccine is around fifty cents. It is projected that MenAfriVac™, in sub-Saharan Africa use could prevent more than 1 million new cases of Meningitis.
Motivated by the prospects of saving lives, the students committed to try and raise $200 to donate to MVP. Penny by penny students added to the collection. Some students performed extra chores to gather funds, others created and sold artwork for their donation and some emptied their piggy banks. Within three months the students raised $498, well over doubling their goal! This donation provided just under 1000 vaccines.
For more information on MVP and how you can donate go to www.meningvax.org.