Many of the major bacterial pathogens that cause meningitis also cause sepsis. They can occur together or separately and can be very difficult to distinguish. Together, meningitis and neonatal sepsis were the second biggest infectious killers of children under five globally in 2016.1 A strong patient voice is key to ensuring that meningitis and sepsis are given appropriate priority and attention within national and international health policy and spending.
Patient groups are organisations of patient representatives with experience of a particular disease or condition. They have the power to play a key role in defeating meningitis through informing and supporting people affected by the disease, advocating for increased access to meningitis vaccines, improving public awareness, and demanding health systems that better meet patients’ needs.
A strong patient voice is instrumental to creating a world that’s free from meningitis, however, many patient groups carry out their work with very limited resources, relying heavily on the work of volunteers.
1 Levels and Trends in Child Mortality Report 2017: United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation. New York, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF): Figure 4, p. 11.