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World Meningitis Day

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World Meningitis Day 2023: United in the race to defeat meningitis 

Meningitis develops rapidly, leaving someone with little time to seek the treatment they need to survive. It can kill within hours, often has life-long health implications for those that do survive and serious social and economic consequences.


There is a World Health Organisation Global Road Map to Defeat Meningitis by 2030. If every goal in this Road Map becomes reality it could save more than 200,000 lives every year and significantly reduce the many disabilities caused by meningitis. 

With countries worldwide committing to the Road Map’s vision of defeating meningitis in our lifetimes, World Meningitis Day is the annual opportunity to make our voices heard and demand change.  


That’s why, on the 5th October every year, people from all over the world come together for a global day of action, raising awareness of the impact of meningitis, and the investment and political support needed to defeat it.

In 2023, World Meningitis Day was bigger than ever. 


By uniting and raising our voices on 5th October, we reached a record number of countries – meaning millions more people in every region of the world are more aware of meningitis, its symptoms, its impact, and what needs to happen to defeat it. 


In just two years, the number of countries supporting World Meningitis Day has increased by 162%, making 2023 the biggest year yet. 


Activity ranged from sharing experiences of meningitis to lighting up buildings to organised events including connecting survivors and their families in Spain and the Netherlands to running medical staff training in Pakistan.  


Take a look at our World Meningitis Day 2023 impact report to learn more about how the world came together on the 5th October to raise global awareness of meningitis. 

How it all began: Confederation of Meningitis Organisations - a global community of activists  


In January 2009, the members of the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) met in London and set themselves a task: to coordinate the first World Meningitis Day. The aim was to bring together a global community of people affected by meningitis; to reach people with no knowledge of the disease; and to ensure no one learns about it for the first time when they are seriously ill with meningitis in hospital. 


Since the very first campaign, it has been incredible to see it grow, within CoMO and amongst our many supporting partners. In 2023, 50 members in 29 countries made sure their voices were heard. Activity ranged from sharing life-saving resources to taking part in television and radio interviews and creating content such as awareness animations in Brazil, a meningitis rap in India and an Ambiguously Blind podcast in the USA. 


Be inspired by what CoMO members achieved on World Meningitis Day, read on for our members’ case studies.


A digital masterclass in sharing educational content 


Associação Brasileira de Combate à Meningite (Brazilian Association for Combating Meningitis)



Building community engagement: from door-knocking to street walks 

Helping Hands Foundation 


Sierra Leone 

A multi-channel campaign in partnership with government bodies


Children Advocacy Forum 


Looking for further inspiration? Find out what CoMO members achieved in previous years. 



Today: A growing global movement 


Support for World Meningitis Day grows year on year.  


In 2023, people in 126 countries took action, spreading messages of awareness, prevention, support and hope among their families, friends, communities. 

#WorldMeningitisDay received millions of mentions, making it a trending hashtag on X. 


It was also supported by organisations across the world, including the United Nations, Gavi, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the UK’s Health Security Agency, Sanofi, PATH, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, GSK, TED and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Do you want to make a difference? Join the race to defeat meningitis today 


If we come together, we can see meningitis defeated in our lifetimes. 

If you’d like to support World Meningitis Day, you can donate today


Your support could help fund life-saving research, raise awareness of meningitis signs and symptoms, provide vital personal support to those affected, and connect meningitis groups around the world so they can demand change to stop others going through the same devastating experiences they have. 


Keen to do more? There are many ways to get involved: 



Together let’s defeat meningitis. 


#DefeatMeningitis #WorldMeningitisDay 


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Stay informed

Sign up to the Meningitis Research Foundation’s monthly emails on how we are working to defeat meningitis, with news on the latest science, meningitis vaccines, and health policy developments.

Don’t want emails? Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn and help us remind world leaders why we want to defeat meningitis by 2030.


Every year, World Meningitis Day brings together people from all over the world to highlight the need to raise awareness of meningitis, its signs and symptoms, the vaccines that are available, and that it is an infection that needs global attention and effort to be defeated.


Meningitis Research Foundation is an international charity which began in the UK in 1989. We’ve been working to defeat meningitis and septicaemia wherever they exist for over 30 years. The Confederation of Meningitis Organizations (CoMO) is our global network of patient groups, meningitis advocates, and health professionals. They work to reduce the incidence and impact of meningitis in more than 50 countries.

#DefeatMeningitis #WorldMeningitisDay

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© Confederation of Meningitis Organisations and Meningitis Research Foundation, 2023
A charity registered in England and Wales no 1091105, in Scotland no SC037586, & in Ireland 20034368
A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no 4367866
Registered Office: Room 715, The Programme Building 7th Floor, The Pithay, Bristol BS1 2NB

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