Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis by 2030

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    In News 

    • The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners launched the first-ever global strategy to defeat meningitis.

    About 

    • The strategy, the Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis by 2030, aims to prevent infections and improve care and diagnosis for those affected.
    • It also aims to eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis — the deadliest form of the disease — and to reduce deaths by 70 per cent and halve the number of cases.
    • The strategy could save more than 200,000 lives annually and significantly reduce the disability caused by the disease.
    • Aims and Objectives 
    • Achievement of high immunisation coverage, development of new affordable vaccines and improved prevention strategies and outbreak response
    • Speedy diagnosis and optimal treatment for patients
    • Good data to guide prevention and control efforts
    • Care and support for those affected, focusing on early recognition and improved access to care and support for 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.

    Meningitis 

    • It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It is predominantly caused by bacterial and viral infections.
    • It is a devastating disease and remains a major public health challenge. 
    • The disease can be caused by many different pathogens including bacteria, fungi or viruses, but the highest global burden is seen with bacterial meningitis.
    • It kills a tenth of those infected — mostly children and young people — and leaves a fifth with long-lasting disabilities, such as seizures, hearing and vision loss, neurological damage, and cognitive impairment.
    • Meningitis epidemics have occurred in the last decade in all regions of the world. 
      • But it is most common in the ‘Meningitis Belt,’ which spans 26 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Transmission: The bacteria that cause meningitis are transmitted from person to person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from carriers. 
    • Treatment: Several vaccines protect against meningitis, including meningococcal, Haemophilus influenzae type b and pneumococcal vaccines.
      • However, not all communities have access to them. Many countries are yet to introduce them into their national programmes.
    • Research is underway to develop vaccines for other causes of meningitis, such as Group B Strep bacteria.

    Source: DTE