Seasonal outbreaks of meningitis at the beginning of each year is not quite unusual in West Africa. This year too, the disease -- which affects the brain and the spinal cord -- has already claimed 3,000 lives in the region. However, it has brought a cholera epidemic in its wake which is threatening to assume monstrous proportions.
Countries affected include Mali, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Togo and Burkina Faso. In Mali, 533 cases with 103 deaths have been announced last month.
Most of the victims live in squalid urban slums where hygiene rules are normally ignored. Authorities in Burkina Faso are turning to the radio and the television to enlighten the country's 10 million people about the necessity for cleanliness.(ips)
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