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.

It is estimated that meningitis affects more than 5 million people globally each year. Other vaccine-preventable diseases have seen global rates drop by 70-90%, but meningitis is drastically behind, dropping just 53% between 1990 and 2017. Deaths from meningitis and sepsis in children under the age of five are estimated to be higher than deaths due to malaria, not accounting the devastation from impairments caused by the disease.

Meningitis Research Foundation wants to defeat meningitis everywhere and has driven action to create a global plan to defeat meningitis.


1.Eliminate meningitis epidemics
2.Reduce cases and deaths from vaccine-preventable meningitis
3. Reduce disability and maximise quality of life for people affected by meningitis

What has the project achieved so far?

The global roadmap to defeat meningitis is now being developed by a multi-organisation partnership led by the World Health Organization. The roadmap defines the vision and strategic framework for future priority efforts to improve: prevention and epidemic control; diagnosis and treatment; disease surveillance; support and care for people affected by meningitis; and advocacy and engagement.

The global plan coordinates action by producing global targets and key actions that need to be taken by 2030.

These will be developed into regional plans to defeat meningitis.

Key milestones

In 2018, 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.

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.

The summit report: download in English 

Le rapport du sommet:télécharger en françai

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 and part of the expert task force led by WHO to tackle the disease. The taskforce, with consultation from experts, generated a report that gave a framework for the global roadmap and the final is expected to be published in 2020.

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

In June 2019, we led a major consultation asking people affected by meningitis what they wanted to see in the global plan.

Read the consultation responses here.

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.
MRF Chief Executive Vinny Smith explains how we're going to defeat meningitis by 2030.
Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
£160/€190/$214 decodes the genetic information in a sample of meningococcal bacteria. This information helps us to track new forms of meningitis and campaign to introduce new vaccines.
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