In 2017, estimates indicated that there were still 5 million new cases and 290 000 deaths globally from all types of meningitis that year. Of those affected by bacterial meningitis, around 1 in 10 will die, and over 1 in 5 will develop severe long term after-effects
, such as deafness.
These startling statistics led to the creation of a taskforce to help draft the first ever global plan to defeat meningitis, which was approved today by the World Health Assembly. The taskforce is a consortium of experts led by the World Health Organization, including Meningitis Research Foundation, UNICEF, PATH, Médecins Sans Frontières, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
The roadmap sets targets and milestones for improvements in five areas: prevention and epidemic control; diagnosis and treatment; surveillance; support and care for patients affected; and engagement and advocacy.
Professor Sir Brian Greenwood, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "This is a major landmark moment for meningitis. Members of the World Health Assembly have approved the roadmap as part of the first resolution on meningitis prevention and control and requested the Director General to provide support for this important initiative from WHO. The international community now needs to come together to meet the ambitious targets set out in the roadmap."