Defeating meningitis by 2030

A global vision for meningitis by 2030 and an action plan to get there

May 2017 - 2030

Meningitis remains a universal public health challenge in countries around the world. The global number of deaths due to meningitis was estimated at around 300,000 in 2015.

Deaths from meningitis and sepsis in children under the age of five were estimated to be higher than deaths due to malaria, not accounting the devastation from after effects.

Progress in defeating meningitis lags behind other vaccine preventable diseases.

This project aims, for the first time, to produce a co-ordinated, global approach to defeating meningitis.


1.  Eliminate meningitis epidemics
Reduce cases and deaths from vaccine-preventable meningitis
Decrease the impact of after effects

What has the project achieved?

Meningitis Research Foundation organised a three-day residential summit of leading experts in meningitis and septicaemia to start a process to create an action plan to 2030 aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It shared different perspectives on what a 2030 vision could be like and how we might get there. It was an inclusive process with strong representation from countries most affected.

This unique opportunity encouraged discussion between senior health officials, policy makers, scientists and clinicians from countries affected by meningitis, as well as representatives from WHO, UNICEF, PATH, Médecins Sans Frontières, CDC, Gavi Vaccine Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other global health organisations, patient groups and pharmaceutical companies.

Key achievements

The summit report called for a new plan for meningitis that inherits the success of the past two decades and looks to address the challenges of the next 13 years to 2030.

It included key priorities from the World Health Organization (WHO) to answer the call by eliminating meningitis epidemics from the ‘meningitis belt’ in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 and an intent to work with partners, including MRF, in a bid to extend the scope to other countries around the world, and to help tackle the many different causes of meningitis.

The summit report identified new opportunities to reduce the impact of meningitis, including:

  • the need to  ensure sustainable vaccine supply for epidemic and routine programme
  • a new and long overdue rapid diagnostic test to improve speed of treatment
  • ensuring healthcare staff are adequately trained to deal with meningitis
  • improving support for survivors and families.
A global vision for meningitis by 2030 and an action plan to get there
Une vision globale de la méningite d’ici 2030 et un plan d’action pour y arriver

In June 2018 WHO responded to calls from the summit by launching the Defeating Meningitis by 2030 initiative.

MRF is at the heart of that initiative, part of the expert task force that WHO have put together to tackle the disease.

Currently, MRF and other members of the on the task force are working with experts to compiling knowledge in five key areas:

  • Prevention and epidemic control
  • Diagnosis and treatment
  • Surveillance
  • Information and advocacy
  • Support and aftercare for survivors.

At the start of 2019, a roadmap to defeat meningitis by 2030 was emerging and MRF, along with Wilton Park, hosted another summit to discuss, refine and move forward the global roadmap.

A consultation on the roadmap will take place throughout 2019.

The global roadmap to defeat meningitis is expected to be published in 2020.

MRF's CEO, Vinny Smith, blogs on the latest Wilton Park summit.

Defeating meningitis by 2030
Defeating meningitis by 2030
The 2019 Wilton Park report

Key partners

WHO works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence. And we never give up.
At PATH, we are a global team of innovators working to accelerate health equity so all people and communities can thrive. We advise and partner with public institutions, businesses, grassroots groups, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges.
An international, independent medical humanitarian organisation
CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S.
Our mission is to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide; working in partnership to achieve excellence in public and global health research, education and translation of knowledge into policy and practice
We take action that benefits people directly. including, training health professionals and providing support and information services.
Since the charity was founded in 1989, we have awarded 161 research grants. The total value of our investment in vital scientific research is over £19.1 million (€24.7 million).
We call for positive change as a united voice against meningitis and septicaemia, and a dedicated champion for those it affects.
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Rob Dawson
Rob Dawson - Director of Communications, Advocacy and Support

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Tel: 0333 405 6252

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