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At the CEFISE School in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, students know a world where meningococcal meningitis arrives on dry December winds and departs with early summer rains, leaving death and disability behind. Many of the children at CEFISE are deaf or hearing impaired as a result of meningitis.

In advance of the introduction of MenAfriVac®, a vaccine against meningococcal meningitis, we asked students to draw pictures of the world with and without the threat of this devastating disease. This slideshow features their work.

The students’ drawings share common themes. In a world where meningitis rages, children eat green mangoes, which are linked to disease since they appear on trees as the meningitis season begins and are ripe by the time it ends. Bacteria-laden dust clouds blow through the streets of villages empty except for patients clutching their aching heads or being carried on stretchers to health centers. Mothers weep; fathers dig graves. In the distance, cemeteries appear on hillsides.

In a world without meningitis, rain falls gently and trees no longer bend in the fierce wind. Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians travel dust-free roads. Smiling villagers—including some who have grown old because meningitis has not stolen their lives—walk to the fields, work, and the market. Children have the energy to play, and the mangoes are ripe.

MenAfriVac is a registered trademark of Serum Institute of India Ltd.

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In a world without meningitis, people enjoy the tasks of daily life.

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In a world with meningitis, dust billows while a father digs a grave.

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When meningitis strikes, the sick vomit and hold their aching heads.

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Flowers bloom and people are happy in a world free of meningitis.

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Children join hands in a world without meningitis (left), while the health clinic is busy where meningitis strikes (right).

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Healthy people go to work and the market.

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The sick suffer.

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In a world without meningitis, above, crops grow and a child swims. Where meningitis is present, center, a family hurries to the hospital with a sick child.

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The sick groan and cough.

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Friends greet one another free from the threat of meningitis.

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At left, a serene world without meningitis. At right, a village enveloped in dust and disease.

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“Oh, what regret. Oh, if I had known,” a woman cries. “What misfortune.”

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Active and well, the woman no longer cries.

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Children go to school, jump rope, and play when meningitis is absent.

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A cemetery sits above a village deserted due to meningitis.

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“If I had been vaccinated,” a woman laments.

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“How happy I am that I was vaccinated,” another thinks.