Updated: Mar 26
To kickstart the one-month countdown to World Meningitis Day (24th April 2021), CoMO are delighted to launch our call to action – one quick and easy form you can complete which will generate a personalised letter that you can send to a policymaker or local politician to help put meningitis on the agenda.
Nations worldwide have understandably been focusing on managing Covid-19 but, unfortunately, the pandemic also threatens to bring back diseases that we can largely prevent, like meningitis. Thankfully, there’s hope that the pandemic will come to an end, with more people being immunised against Covid-19 and social distancing measures relaxing in some countries. However, the pandemic has caused disruptions in immunisation services and we’re expecting the number of cases of infectious diseases like meningitis to rise once people are able to gather again. So, as we look ahead with excitement and think about all we will soon be able to do, let’s all do our best to protect ourselves and our communities. And as governments look ahead, seeking to rebuild their countries and fortify them against diseases, let’s all make sure that they’re thinking about meningitis as well.
The Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis by 2030 was approved by country representatives at the World Health Assembly in November 2020. This Roadmap lays out an ambitious plan to make this disease history, so that no one has to needlessly lose a loved one and so that we have countries that are better able to respond to disease. But so much happens at the World Health Assembly and it’s possible that health ministers and policymakers in your country aren’t aware of it yet. That’s why we’re calling on you to make this global vision a local reality.
Writing to a policymaker or a local politician may seem daunting - many people don’t have existing ties with policymakers and maybe you wouldn’t be sure what you would write even if you did. That’s ok! We’ve created a simple form that you can fill out and, once submitted, you’ll receive a letter that you can use. In just four simple steps you can help make meningitis a priority.
1. Complete the Google Form
We’ve created a short Google Form that will generate a personalised letter on Google Documents. This form will take only 5 minutes to complete and you’ll receive an email as soon as it’s been submitted. The email address you include in the form will be the one that receives a link to your document so make sure you enter the right one!
2. Check your inbox (or spam folder!)
You will have received an email from the “Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO)” (firstname.lastname@example.org) inviting you to edit a document. If it’s not in your inbox, check your spam folder! Get in touch at email@example.com if you have not received the letter within 10 minutes of submitting the form.
3. Click on the link, edit your document
Clicking on the link will take you to a Google Document. This Google Document is a letter that contains information from the form you filled out, along with your answers.
4. Email it to your local politician
Contacting a policymaker or your local politician looks different in each country – maybe it’s easy for you because you already have an existing relationship with one or you know their email address, in which case, go ahead! Maybe it’s not so easy because you don’t know how to contact them. Use this as an opportunity to try and find out who your local politician is and how you can get in touch so you can introduce yourself! Searching online for “how to contact my local policymakers” or “how to contact my elected officials” should be helpful. If you’re not sure who could help support the cause, you could always send your letter to existing patient groups and charities focused on health and ask them for any useful contacts. You can check out our list of meningitis groups around the world here.
Policymakers and local politicians may be especially busy now so contact them in advance of World Meningitis Day (24th April 2021) so they can support the campaign for the actual day. If you do hear back from a politician and they’re interested in recognising the impact of meningitis, asking them to post on social media about it can make a huge difference. It may seem like a small gesture but elected officials have large platforms and could help encourage people to learn more about meningitis.
Unable to contact a local politician?
Don't worry! There's still plenty you can do to help defeat meningitis, check out some ideas below.
Even sharing an infographic on the signs and symptoms could help save someone’s life! We have infographics like the one below in 10 languages. Meningitis can kill in under 24 hours but can be confused for other less serious conditions and so early recognition is key. Anyone can download our resources for free here. Covid-19 may have affected what you can do for World Meningitis Day and so we've created a guide for virtual awareness-raising that you can download here.
Spending 10 minutes today could help mean that someone learns about meningitis before they’re affected by it. Knowledge in the face of a disease like meningitis can help save a life and support those affected so get involved today!