4th MERIT Technical Meeting: Synthesis Report. November 18-20, 2010

Cibrelus, L.

As established in 2007 and lead by the World Health organization (WHO), the Meningitis Environmental Risk Information Technologies (MERIT) project is a collaborative initiative between the public health, environmental and research communities. MERIT partners work to combine environmental and social, economic and demographic information with public health data to strengthen decisionmaking and preparedness for epidemic meningococcal meningitis in Africa. Conducting such an effort is increasingly important, as both the on-going introduction of the new conjugate vaccine against Neisseria Meningitidis serogroup A (Men A) and some environmental and climate changes are expected to shape the dynamics of meningococcal meningitis in the African Meningitis Belt.
Organization and Sponsorship
Every year since its implementation, the MERIT Steering Committee1 holds an international technical meeting that enables member of the MERIT Community to review the status and achievements of MERIT based on the recommendations of the previous technical meetings, and to plan the way forward. The 4th MERIT Technical Meeting was organized by the MERIT Steering Committee
in partnership with the Ethiopian Climate and Health Working Group (CHWG)/AntiMalaria Association (AMA) , November 19-20, 2010. Hosted for the second time by the CHWG/AMA at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) compound at the United Nations (UN) Conference Centre, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the meeting was sponsored by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC),, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the Health and Climate
Foundation (HCF) and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Following opening addresses by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) of Ethiopia and the WHO Representative in Ethiopia, 73 participants from the public health, environmental and social sciences communities, involved through a wide range of international and national institutions, attended the meeting. Through presentations, discussions and working group sessions, they addressed the ways to ensure the public health relevance of MERIT activities in the context of the changing epidemiology and nature of the Meningitis Belt region in Africa, identified potential new partnerships and opportunities with regards to investigating the role of environmental, social, epidemiological and biological risk factors on meningitis epidemics in Africa. Efforts further focused on the ways to develop an operational decision support tool which will help inform reactive vaccination strategies in districts in epidemic as well as preventive strategies in line with the introduction of the new conjugate Men A vaccine, through (but not limited to) the near real-time monitoring of the next meningitis epidemic season. The means to develop, to advance and to support country-led MERIT activities were also discussed, with emphasis on Ethiopia and Nigeria.


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International Research Institute for Climate and Society
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March 13, 2024