Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Race to defeat meningitis for World Meningitis Day

Andy Hopkinson | 30th September 2022

Together, meningitis and neonatal sepsis are the second biggest infectious cause of death in children under 5 around the world. They can kill in hours, have life-long implications for those who do survive, and have serious health, social and economic consequences

Race to defeat meningitis for World Meningitis Day

Many cases of, and deaths from, meningitis are vaccine-preventable, but progress in defeating meningitis lags behind that for other diseases.

Despite significant progress in recent years, meningitis still strikes fear into the hearts of many. It develops rapidly, leaving someone with little time to seek the treatment they need to survive.

For those who do survive, they live with the consequences of meningitis, including the need for the right support and aftercare to cope with physical and intellectual disabilities. Many people do not realise that meningitis and neonatal sepsis are the world’s leading cause of severe intellectual disability, and that meningitis is the leading infectious cause of severe hearing loss.

Access to vaccines

Across the world, there are populations who do not have access to the vaccines that will prevent this deadly infection. Many don’t know vaccines exist or understand why it is so important to have them. There is no vaccine that protects against all causes of meningitis.

Of course, we’re luckier in the UK. We have a good immunisation programme and a free health service for when the worst happens. But that doesn’t stop people in the UK contracting meningitis – 22 every day – or fearing its consequences. At Meningitis Now we are working to defeat meningitis in the UK within a generation, to reach out to everyone who needs help, support and information and being recognised as a centre of expertise for aftercare and support.

That’s why we’re glad to support World Meningitis Day each year. This takes place on Wednesday 5 October this year and brings together people from all over the world to highlight the need to raise awareness of meningitis, its signs and symptoms, the vaccines that are available, and that it is an infection that needs global attention and effort to be defeated.

Hope this World Meningitis Day

This World Meningitis Day there is hope. For the first time, there is a global action plan to defeat meningitis, with the landmark launch of the World Health Organization’s Global Road Map to Defeat Meningitis by 2030. There are global goals in place that now need support from countries all over the world to realise.

Defeating meningitis matters to millions of people all over the world, every day. It is a race against time from the moment the infection strikes.

It is a race against time to implement a global road map by 2030 that will dramatically improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment, disease monitoring, health advocacy and support and aftercare.

Join your voice with ours so we can defeat a terrible, yet largely vaccine-preventable infection. Join us this World Meningitis Day in the race to defeat meningitis.

Here’s a few things you can do to join the race to defeat meningitis by 2030

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