Meet the trustees

Claire Leigh

Claire is the Director of Global Policy, Advocacy and Research at Save the Children UK, leading the organisation's efforts to protect and promote child rights around the world. Prior to joining Save the Children, Claire has worked in a variety of international settings, including for the United Nations Development Program and UNICEF in New York, the Overseas Development Institute in London and East Timor, and as an advisor to the Presidents of Rwanda and Liberia as part of the Africa Governance Initiative. Claire has also spent time working for the British Government, as a senior policy advisor in the British Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and subsequently in the Policy Planning Staff of the Foreign Office. She holds a first class degree in History from Cambridge and an MPhil in International Relations from Oxford.

Too many parents are forced to watch helplessly as their child suffers from this preventable and cruel disease, often with tragic results. MRF is a fantastic organisation with a clear plan for defeating meningitis both in the UK and around the world, and has a brilliant team of dedicated and talented staff to deliver their strategy."

David Moëd
Company Secretary

David Moëd is the Foundation’s Company Secretary and joined the charity in 1994 as a Trustee.

David is the Foundation’s Company Secretary and joined the charity in 1994 as a Trustee. His daughter Rosie contracted meningitis when she was eight months old and went on to make a full recovery.

A Chartered Accountant with a number of businesses, he lives in London and helps with fundraising as well as being a key member of the finance sub-committee.

Dr Ajayi-Obe

Dayo is a senior consultant paediatrician at the Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. A global health expert, she has worked in various settings across the globe including as a WHO consultant in a catastrophic meningococcal meningitis epidemic in the traditional meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa.

Dayo has a master’s degree in epidemiology from Harvard University, sits on the council of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Alumni Association and is a climate change activist with an interest in the relationship between climate and infectious disease epidemics. She is on the team of EcoActUs, a virtual climate boot camp.

“As a clinician practising on the frontline, I have observed the impact that vaccines have had in significantly reducing the number of cases of meningitis in the developed world over the last two and a half decades. I am delighted to be part of a community that will influence the replication of this impact worldwide through the implementation of current and future vaccines that will emerge.”

Professor Ray Borrow PhD MRCPath
UK Health Security Agency, Vaccine Evaluation Unit

Ray is Head of the Vaccine Evaluation Unit at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). He is responsible for the evaluation of serological responses to various bacterial and viral vaccines with a special interest in meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines. He is also the Deputy Head of the UKHSA Meningococcal Reference Unit for England & Wales.

Ray gained his PhD in 1994, his MRCPath in 2003, became an Honorary Professor of Vaccine Preventable Diseases at the University of Manchester in 2009, and Visiting Professor of the Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011. He serves as a member of the DHSC Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and frequently advises the World Health Organization and companies on meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines.

Steve Highwood
Steve is a Chartered Building Engineer and joined MRF as a Trustee in 2019. His eldest son Jack, contracted pneumococcal meningitis 1998 at six months old and made a full recovery. In 2002/03, Steve worked closely with the Foundation to raise money and awareness by organising a boat, crew and raising funds by competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race.
Sarah Jeffery

Sarah has managed and directed all aspects of the health portfolio of the Vitol Foundation since 2014. In her role, she supports health NGOs and social enterprises globally, identifying locally-founded partners to implement programmes that improve access to, and the quality of, healthcare services. Sarah is also a technical advisor for Jacaranda Health and South Lake Medical Centre in Kenya and sits on the Executive Committee of a global network of Foundations.

Before joining the Vitol Foundation, Sarah worked in the non-profit sector, supporting healthcare programmes in fragile contexts in East Africa. In another life, she was also a nurse and holds an MPH from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Micheál Nallen

Micheál joined the board in 2019 and is a Chartered Accountant working in Financial Services in Dublin, having previously worked in a Big 5 Audit Practice. He has held a number of roles in Financial Services including leading operations, risk management and project management teams.

He has experience in leading strategic change programmes, including the restructure of operational teams and simplifying and embedding operational processes.

Jane Plumb MBE
Chair of the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations Advisory Council

Jane is the Chief Executive of Group B Strep Support (GBSS), which she founded in 1996. GBSS supports families affected in the UK by Group B Strep (GBS), as well as health professionals through relevant, evidence-based information and education on GBS.

Jane is vice-chair of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists’ Women’s Network, a member of the Pregnancy & Baby Charity Network and a member of the World Health Organization’s Extended Technical Taskforce on Defeating Meningitis by 2030. She has worked on NICE guidelines and quality standards, including the Antibiotics for neonatal Infection, preterm labour & birth and neonatal infection guidelines.

Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe

Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe is a Consultant in Public health and Disaster Management with over 20 years' experience of working in the United Kingdom and sub-Sahara Africa on public health, global health, health protection and business continuity planning.   Her collaborative leadership style and proficiency in developing and communicating a shared vision that engages stakeholders across cultures has strengthened partnerships and increased funding for several health programmes including meningitis. Priscilla is a Fellow, Faculty of Public Health, UK and holds an MSc in Health Service Management, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

‘Our global clarion call to Defeat Meningitis by 2030 is achievable with national and local commitment to increase sustainable domestic funding, strategic partnerships, multi-sectoral collaboration, systems thinking and whole-society approach amongst others to improve outcomes for people affected by meningitis’

Megan Challis
Megan is Head of Strategic Partnerships at the Wellcome Trust. Previously she led government relations in European markets for Wellcome, and set up Wellcome's first international office in Germany.

Prior to joining Wellcome, Megan held a variety of senior policy roles at the Department of Health and Social Care in London, including leading England’s first National Maternity Safety strategy as well as running programmes of health system improvement and reform of international healthcare regulations.

She has also worked in the NGO sector and for the UK National Health Service. Megan holds an MSc in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics and a BA from the University of Oxford.
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A global vision for meningitis by 2030 and an action plan to get there.
We fund research into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and sepsis

The MRF Membership and Support team are here for you for any questions you might have about meningitis and septicaemia and their effects on you or your family and friends.

90p/€1 produces a detailed ‘Your Guide’ information pack for parents when a child is recovering from meningitis