Keeping meningitis on the agenda

16th March 2018

Student Lina Andreou tells us how and why she’s making sure her university’s Student Union is aware of meningitis and will keep it on the agenda

FFN - UWE blog

“The University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) has set up a system whereby students can submit Student Ideas on matters which they feel need to be supported by the Student Union."

"These ideas are then voted on by fellow students and, if passed, will be discussed by the Student Union Council and become Student Union policy."

“Run a continuing campaign to raise awareness of meningitis and encourage vaccinations”

“My student policy was to encourage every student at UWE to get their men ACWY and B vaccinations and know the symptoms of the illness."

“Unfortunately, there has been a rise in men B cases in the UK and specifically in the Bristol area over the last few years, some which have had fatal results."

Sudden and tragic death

“Recently, on 16 August 2017, my 18-year-old cousin, George Zographou suddenly and tragically died of men B. There has been a lot of media coverage of his death and the events following, for example, the charity work we as a family have done to raise money and awareness for Meningitis Now."

“However, this work has only affected his close friends and family and we wish to spread this awareness further."

“As much as our fundraising has helped raise money and awareness, it has come to my attention that many of the younger people I have spoken to have not had their men ACWY vaccination prior to, or during, their time at university. This is the free vaccination given by the NHS to protect students from the more common strains of meningitis."

Get men B vaccination

“As well as this, our aim is to get as many students to get the men B vaccination, as we were not given this vaccination when we were children and it is very likely that many people do not even know this exists."

“I recently got my two vaccinations for men B, which are given two months after each other. It does cost money, around £200, as the NHS will not give it out for free to teens and adults, only for babies. That is why we must campaign for awareness. This is a small price to pay for what could save our lives."

Create a student policy

“My idea was to create a student policy that promoted long-term awareness of meningitis and encouraged students to get vaccinated. My Student Idea was voted on and passed by the Student Union council and therefore will be implemented into UWE Student Union policy."

“I have been working with the VP of Sport & Health, Erin Mills, and the VP of Community & Welfare, Siân Hampson, discussing the next steps for implementation."

“There are plans to run fundraisers such as quiz nights at the SU with meningitis awareness-themed bonus rounds to test the students’ knowledge on meningitis and to raise awareness of the symptoms. We are also planning on having yearly vaccination drives over the university move-in weekend and again after Easter to ensure every student has had the opportunity to be vaccinated."

“It is vital that we do our best to stop further tragedies from happening to anyone else."

“I created this Student Idea to ensure the students at UWE are safe, to encourage other universities to follow suit and to ensure that there is a continuous campaign to raise awareness for future students.”