On 28 September 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners launched the first global strategy to defeat meningitis, a debilitating disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people each year. By 2030, the goals are to eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis, halve the number of overall cases, and reduce deaths by 70%. The WHO estimate that this could save more than 200,000 lives annually, and significantly reduce disability caused by the disease.
The strategy was launched by a broad coalition of partners involved in meningitis prevention and control, and it has a focus on preventing infections and improving care and diagnosis for those affected. The new roadmap highlights several priorities for meningitis response and prevention.
- Achievement of high immunisation coverage, development of new affordable vaccines, and improved prevention strategies and outbreak response.
- The speedy diagnosis and optimal treatment for patients.
- Production of good data to guide prevention and control efforts.
- Care and support for those affected, focusing on early recognition and improved access for those suffering with meningitis after-effects.
- Advocacy and engagement, to ensure high awareness of meningitis, accountability for national plans, and affirmation of the right to prevention, care and after-care services.
Source: WHO, 28 September 2021