Knowledge, beliefs and practices regarding prevention of bacterial meningitis in Burkina Faso, 5 years after MenAfriVac mass campaigns

Judith E. Mueller*, Joy Seanehia, Seydou Yaro, Caroline L. Trotter, Ray Borrow, Tamara Giles-Vernick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Downloads (Pure)


Background: To adapt communications concerning vaccine prevention, we studied knowledge, beliefs and practices around meningitis risk and prevention in a young adult population in Burkina Faso in 2016, 5 years after the MenAfriVac® mass campaign and one year before the vaccine’s inclusion in the infant immunization schedule.

Methods: In a representative sample of the population aged 15 to 33 years (N = 220) in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, study nurses administered a standardized paper questionnaire consisting of predominantly open questions, collecting information on meningitis risk factors and prevention, and on exposure to dry air and kitchen fire smoke. We identified themes and analyzed their frequency. We created a meningitis knowledge score (range 0 to 4) based on pre-defined best responses and analyzed the determinants of knowledge score levels >2 (basic score) and >3 (high score) using multivariate logistic regression.

Results: Biomedically supported facts and good practices were known by the majority of participants (eg vaccine prevention, 84.5%). Younger women aged 15–20 years had a higher frequency of low scores <2 (17.0%) compared to older women aged 21–33 years (6.3%) and men of both age groups (3.8%). Junior secondary School attendance explained the differences between the two groups of women, the gender gap for the older, but not the young women, and explained score differences among young women. Local understandings and practices for risk and prevention were commonly reported and used (risk from unripe mango consumption and prevention through nasal application of shea nut butter).

Discussion: This study shows a gender gap in knowledge of meningitis risk and prevention, largely due to education-level inequalities. Women below 21 years had particularly low levels of knowledge and may need interventions outside schools and perinatal care. Our study suggests a strong adherence to local understandings of and practices around meningitis risk and prevention, which should be taken into account by vaccination promotion.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0253263
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The study was funded by the Meningitis Research Foundation (, grant N˚1101.0). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

I have read the journal’s policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: RB performs contract research on behalf of Public Health England for GSK, Pfizer and Sanofi Pasteur. JEM, JS, CLT and TGV declare no conflict of interest. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Publisher copyright: © 2021 Mueller et al.

Citation: Mueller JE, Seanehia J, Yaro S, Trotter CL, Borrow R, Giles-Vernick T (2021) Knowledge, beliefs and practices regarding prevention of bacterial meningitis in Burkina Faso, 5 years after MenAfriVac mass campaigns. PLoS ONE 16(7): e0253263.



Dive into the research topics of 'Knowledge, beliefs and practices regarding prevention of bacterial meningitis in Burkina Faso, 5 years after MenAfriVac mass campaigns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this