Global meeting to build a pathway to a world free from meningitis

11 Apr 2017
Global meeting to build a pathway to a world free from meningitis

Meningitis Research Foundation is bringing together leading experts in meningitis, septicaemia and health from across the world in a three-day global meeting to be held on the 8-10 May at Wilton Park* in the UK.

During this unique opportunity, global experts will meet to share different perspectives on progress and challenges in combatting meningitis, from the perspective of national and international public health programmes, health systems and patient advocacy through to 2030.

Experts will collectively think about long term goals with the aim of achieving a global vision for meningitis, creating a strong call to action and helping to build a taskforce for the delivery of a roadmap towards defeating meningitis by 2030.

Half a million children under five still die

1 Despite this, it is estimated that around half a million children under five still die of meningitis and sepsis worldwide every year2 so a coordinated effort is needed.

The global vision will help to save lives by highlighting ways to boost equity and access to meningitis prevention, ensure effective diagnosis and treatment, and help provide more support and information to those in need.

The meeting is to take place thanks to support and funding from Wilton Park (a UK Foreign Office executive agency), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sanofi Pasteur, GSK and Pfizer.

Attendees will include senior health officials, policy makers and leading clinicians from countries affected by meningitis as well as representatives from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Gavi - the Vaccine Alliance, and other global health organisations, patient groups and pharmaceutical companies.

Save more lives

Vinny Smith, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said, “We need global sustainable solutions to meningitis. Meningitis does not respect country borders. It’s a disease that can kill quickly or leave lasting disability and has devastating impacts around the world. It is time to take coordinated action to defeat it. The World Health Organization plays a key role in convening national health authorities from the African meningitis belt. With their help, the expertise that will be brought together in this meeting will enable the sharing of lessons learned about how we can battle against meningitis and save more lives from this deadly disease.”

Brian Greenwood, Professor of Clinical Tropical Medicine, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said, “There has been enormous progress in the prevention of bacterial meningitis during the past few decades with the development and widespread deployment of effective vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis but many children across the world still die from meningitis and others are left permanently disabled. Now is a good time to explore what more can be done to reduce this burden and to characterise new priorities for meningitis research.”

A global effort against meningitis and septicaemia will contribute towards delivering the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals and their inclusion of ‘affordable vaccines and medicines for all’.

*Wilton Park organises nearly 65 events a year in the UK and overseas, bringing together leading representatives from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, academia, business, civil society, the military and the media. Wilton Park is an executive agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Further information is available at wiltonpark.org.uk.

  • Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Global Burden of Disease. Available from: http://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/.
  • Liu, L., et al., Global, regional, and national causes of under-5 mortality in 2000-15: an updated systematic analysis with implications for the Sustainable Development Goals. Lancet, 2016. 388(10063): p. 3027-3035.
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