The impact of World Meningitis Day
Over 100 countries across the world; millions of people; hundreds of interviews and stories on the TV, on radio, in newspapers and magazines, and online; street marches; marathon runners; buildings lit up; public lectures; sports games; drop in mornings and so much more – this is World Meningitis Day.
Held every year on 5th October, World Meningitis Day is the global moment to raise awareness of meningitis as a global public health emergency: one that affects people all over world, of every age, and every nationality.
1 in 10 people die from bacterial meningitis. 1 in 5 survivors are left with a lifelong disability. Meningitis and neonatal sepsis together are estimated to be the second largest known cause of epilepsy and the leading cause of severe intellectual disability in the world. Our vision is a world free of these statistics, a world free of meningitis.
We now have 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, demanding change so people stop having to live with the lifelong implications of this devastating infection.
2022: the most successful World Meningitis Day ever
In 2022, World Meningitis Day was bigger than ever, with millions of people in every region of the world coming together to raise awareness of meningitis, its signs and symptoms, the vaccines that should be available to everyone to prevent it, and that it is an infection that needs global attention and effort to be defeated.
Take a look at our World Meningitis Day 2022 impact report.
Confederation of Meningitis Organisations: a 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 2022, 54 CoMO members in 32 countries took action on World Meningitis Day, contacting their political representatives, hosting podcasts, holding state broadcasts and book signings, and so much more. To be inspired by some of the activity that took place, read on for our members’ case studies.
World Meningitis Day 2022: what CoMO members achieved
Japan: Japan Child Meningitis Org
Nigeria: Care and Development Centre (CADEC)
USA: Ambiguously Blind
New Zealand: Meningitis Foundation Aotearoa NZ
Donate to help
If you have been inspired by World Meningitis Day, there are many ways to get involved. Bookmark worldmeningitsday.org now, sign up to our regular email updates, and join our community on social media (all the links are at the bottom of this page).
And 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.
If we come together, we can see meningitis defeated in our lifetimes.
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.
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.
© 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
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