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
2. Reduce cases and deaths from vaccine-preventable meningitis
3. 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.
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.