UNbacked vaccination drive seeks to protect West Africans from seasonal meningitis

The immunization campaign, spearheaded by the GAVI Alliance, will cover Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan. “Meningitis takes a terrible toll on the people living in vulnerable parts of Africa every year. It is a painful disease which can kill quickly and often leaves victims with disabilities that will blight their lives,” said Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, the members of which include the UN World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Meningitis Vaccine Project, amongst a range of other bodies.The seven countries targeted are vulnerable to seasonal severe outbreaks of meningitis with up to 430 million people at risk from the illness, according to a news release issued by the GAVI Alliance. “Nobody really understands exactly why just in that region. But every five to seven years there would be an epidemic. There would be hundreds of thousands if not millions of cases. And it would completely drive the economies to a halt,” said Dr. Berkley. The vaccination drive will ensure those at high risk, particularly children and young adults, are vaccinated by the end of December.The disease can kill the most severely affected patients within 48 hours and causes brain damage, hearing loss or learning difficulties in 20 per cent of sufferers. The most recent major outbreak, in 1996, saw 250,000 people contract meningitis, of which 25,000 died.For its 2011-2016 programme, the GAVI Alliance plans to support immunisation efforts in all 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.The Geneva-based GAVI Alliance is a public-private partnership aimed at improving health in the world’s poorest countries. Since its establishment in 2000, GAVI has financed the immunization of more than 325 million children and prevented more than five million premature deaths. read more

Continue reading

Madeleine McCann investigators probe convicted child killer from Germany

A convicted paedophile and serial killer from Germany has emerged as a figure of interest in the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann, according to a former Portuguese detective.Martin Ney, 48, who is serving life in prison for abducting and killing three German children between 1992 and 2001, is reportedly being investigated by officers from Portugal’s Policia Judiciaria.The 48-year-old child sex monster is said to closely resemble a photofit issued by detectives in the case and was understood to have been in Portugal in 2007, when the three-year-old was abducted.Ney, who is in jail in his native Germany, has previously been interviewed by detectives investigating Madeleine’s disappearance but has denied any involvement.Originally from Hamburg, the predatory paedophile targeted children on holiday sometimes entering their apartments or tents wearing a mask and carrying a weapon and other times using camouflage in order to ambush them. Police issued a photofit of a suspect in 2013 Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007 from Praia da Luz Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007 from Praia da Luz Police issued a photofit of a suspect in 2013 After training as a teacher he is known to have travelled extensively, including to Ecuador, Peru and Portugal. Last Friday marked the 12th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance from her parents’ holiday apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.Scotland Yard currently has a small team of detectives continuing to work on any potential leads.A spokesman for Scotland Yard refused to comment on the claims that a foreign paedophile was now being probed as part of the investigation. He resembles a photofit issued in 2013 of a man who was spotted acting suspiciously in Praia da Luz around the time Madeleine was abducted.Clarence Mitchell, the McCann’s spokesman said: “It might be him and he fits the profile, he is a known predatory paedophile and he’s a foreigner.”It is quite possible and plausible police are looking at him again but it could be someone else. There is a degree of credibility it is Ney but we cannot speculate.”Ney has been previously interviewed by detectives over Madeleine’s abduction, and denied it. He is in a German jail now.”He added: “Kate and Gerry are not in a position to comment on this, nor would they because it is operational detail and they will not discuss it.” In 1992 he killed 13-year-old, Stefan Jahr, the following year he struck again, abducting and murdering eight-year-old Dennis Rostel and then in 2001 he killed eight-year-old Dennis Klein.He is also suspected of killing another child in Holland in 1998 and one in France in 2004.All of Ney’s previous victims have been boys, but police working on the McCann case have continued to consider him as a person of interest. Scotland Yard are continuing to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCannCredit:PA But Goncalo Amaral, the controversial former Portuguese police chief, who was sacked in 2007 after claiming the McCanns were involved in their daughter’s disappearance, told the Australian media that a jailed German paedophile was now the main suspect.Last week Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police confirmed that a small dedicated team, from Operation Grange, continued to investigate Madeleine’s disappearance and were following up a number of lines.She also said they were awaiting a decision from the Home Office whether to continue funding the unit for another year. Show more Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Scotland Yard are continuing to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann read more

Continue reading