Updated: Jul 21
24 August 2017
Written by CoMO member,
To defeat meningitis we need a global plan. Meningitis travels the world – in recent years the UK, for example, has seen a rapid rise in a new deadly strain of meningitis that travelled from South America. Wherever it appears it leaves death and disability in its path. In 2015 around 380,000 people died because of it. If we want to ensure that more people are protected, that treatment and diagnosis is optimised, and that people get the information and support they need, we need to work together on a global plan.
That’s why MRF called together over 50 global experts for a three-day meeting organised by Wilton Park. Scientists, researchers, health practitioners, the private sector and vaccine manufacturers joined forces with civil society, policy makers and the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss what needed to be done to defeat meningitis by 2030.
It was great to hear so much consensus around key themes, such as improving diagnostics, and a strong call for action from participants wanting more to be done.
Hearing the call, WHO representatives confirmed that they will put meningitis high on the global agenda. They will coordinate progress in five areas linked to eliminating epidemic meningitis from the meningitis belt and recognise the need for a more global agenda.
Specifically their work will focus on:
Ensuring long-term protection against MenA for the entire at-risk population in the meningitis belt, building on the success of recent vaccination campaigns.
Improving outbreak response and control of meningococcal epidemics in the meningitis belt, as well as management of patients and survivors.
Enhancing disease surveillance in the meningitis belt.
Promoting development and public health use of affordable vaccines that tackle different causes of meningitis in the meningitis belt.
Calling for meningitis expertise to address globally the many different causes of meningitis around the world.
We are extremely excited about where this could lead and we are continuing discussions with participants to move this to the next stage, with greater input from the wider community. More information about the meeting can be found here, or email Rob Dawson with any questions.
Meningitis Research Foundation is a leading UK and international charity that brings together people and expertise to defeat meningitis and septicaemia wherever it exists. MRF has been a full member of CoMO since September 2004.