Cost of Meningitis
CoMO and its members understand that meningitis is a traumatic experience for survivors and families.
As well as the potential for loss of life or acquisition of lifelong impairments such as brain damage or limb loss, even those less affected are often left with behavioural, emotional and educational problems. All of this creates a societal cost in addition to the personal cost to individuals, their support networks and bereaved families.
Research projects in the UK and France have been undertaken to understand the long-term cost of meningitis.
Country based research
Results showed that it costs the UK government between £3-4.5 million to care for severe cases over their lifetime.
The project fronted a major campaign that generated a petition of nearly 17,000 signatures calling on the UK government to pursue the widest and earliest implementation of vaccines to prevent the diseases. Results from the study were also published in a peer reviewed journal.
As an extension of the work undertaken in the UK, the MRF have helped Association Audrey in France with a similar exercise, recently revealing that the cost of caring for survivors with severe disability such as amputations or brain damage over a lifetime can range from 3.4 to 4.6 million Euros. The majority of this is paid for by National Health Insurance and publicly funded organisations the figures are in line with findings from the UK study. Association Audrey uses the findings of this study to raise awareness of the true of cost of meningitis to families and nations.
In 2021, a study commissioned by the Spanish Association against Meningitis (AEM) and conducted by researchers at Grupo de Economía de la salud y gestión de servicios sanitarios (IDIVAL) was published, revealing the many consequences of meningitis for families. This study is the first of its kind in Spain, providing a holistic view on the financial, emotional, physical and psychological impacts of the disease. To touch just on the direct economic costs identified in the study, for someone with life-long needs, the cost came to €11,050 per year and up to €921,901 throughout someone's lifetime. In some extreme cases some families were paying €200,000 a year. To learn more, read our summary of the study here.
This is a start! More needs to be done to understand the true impact of meningitis, which will add greater strength to advocacy efforts worldwide.
For more information:
For MRF’s Counting the Cost project please contact MRF Director of Communications, Advocacy and Support Rob Dawson.
About the cost of meningitis research in France please contact Association Audrey President Jimmy Voisine (French speaking).
For more information on AEM's study in Spain, you can contact the Vice President of the association and CoMO's Europe Africa Regional Coordinator, Elena Moya (English, Spanish and French speaking).