Meningitis in Malawi

Despite major breakthroughs in the UK & developed world, meningitis remains a huge problem in Africa and especially in Malawi. There is an exceptionally high fatality rate, and the young are especially at risk. An aggressive infection, meningitis can kill within hours of the first symptoms. Recognising the disease early can mean the difference between life and death and improve outcomes for survivors, who are often left with life-altering conditions (e.g. deafness, brain damage). 

MRF is committed to a world free from meningitis & septicaemia. MRF is the largest research-based charity that deals solely with meningitis and septicaemia and one of the few organizations aiming to tackle meningitis in the developing world.  Our 22-year track record of awareness and advocacy work in the UK has contributed to significant improvements in the outcome from meningitis.Drawing from this experience, the charity is developing its international work in the longer term and we hope to improve the outcomes from meningitis in Africa.

A privately-funded trip by MRF CEO & trustees visited the Heyderman project and local health & community groups in a bid to better understand the situation on the ground and assess the best way for MRF to make a useful contribution.

Our research has shown that the sick are not getting to the health clinics and hospitals fast enough, 
and has highlighted 2 important reasons contributing to poor outcomes from meningitis in Malawi:

  • patients don’t realise how serious the illness is and the need to seek treatment early, 
  • health professionals turn patients with meningitis away (often thinking its malaria).  

As a direct follow-on from this research and the MRF visit to Malawi, we have developed our first Malawi project, which aims to:
  • Raise awareness of meningitis in the public & health community.
  • Help people get medical attention as quick as possible.
MRF is planning to undertake a programme of awareness activities to make people aware of the disease, its severity and the need to seek urgent medical attention. Part of this campaign will involve radio/press coverage to reach the general population, forming part if this campaign and to help get people to health centres quickly MRF is hoping to present villages in the Blantyre region with an ambibike – a specially converted bicycle with a trailer designed to carry a person. 

With your support we can help to overcome the barriers to rapid treatment and improve outcomes from meningitis & septicaemia in Malawi and ultimately help to save lives.