In December 2017, Niger released its first Health Climate Bulletin, which was produced by the multidisciplinary Climate-Health Group. The Bulletin, which provides a co-developed climate product for the health sector, was developed with support from the Climate Services for Increased Resilience in the Sahel project, a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The first edition of the Bulletin focuses on meningitis in Niger – located in the “Meningitis Belt” of Africa and regularly confronted with devastating outbreaks from various strains of the disease. Climate information can help Niger monitor the environmental suitability for meningitis outbreaks since humidity, dust and wind have been proven to be good predictors of where and when seasonal outbreaks of meningitis may occur. Regular updates on dust and wind conditions in Niger can help health authorities plan vaccination campaigns to improve the country’s coverage against this disease, especially in areas at heightened risk of an outbreak.
The Climate-Health Group is composed of nine member institutions. The Bulletin draws from data collected from Niger’s Direction de la surveillance et de la riposte aux épidémies (DSRE), Centre for Medical and Health Research (CERMES) and Direction de la Météorologie Nationale (DMN) as well as from the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD). It provides an analysis of the climactic conditions as well as an epidemiological overview of Niger. The Bulletin was distributed to approximately 1 500 recipients.