It is estimated that around 500,000 people in the UK have had meningitis, an infectious disease that can kill within hours and for those that survive, the after-effects can be devastating and lifelong.
We worked in partnership with the charity Meningitis Now, the founder of the UK meningitis movement, to undertake an extensive and ground-breaking study to uncover the impact of meningitis on those it affects. Our findings are based on the experiences of over 1,000 people - their stories have been brought to life through the report entitled ‘Meningitis and Me’, and in a series of engaging and informative videos.
Some of the key themes we uncovered in our report are shown below.
An important and unexpected finding from our study was that although viral meningitis is often dismissed as a less serious disease, survey respondents who reported after-effects from viral meningitis were just as likely to report that it affected their day-to-day activities as those who had contracted bacterial meningitis. This finding has been of crucial value in informing the charity’s strategic discussions.
We also identified a clear need for peer support amongst those affected by meningitis.
Our study generated compelling and robust statistics, which clearly demonstrated key touchpoints for change. In addition, we heard first-hand the heart-breaking stories of people who’ve had meningitis themselves and of their friends and family, but also witnessed inspiring tales of determination and hope. These insights will guide Meningitis Now towards securing a better future for everyone affected by this brutal disease: our report is already having direct and considerable value for the charity’s work:
Influencing the charity’s role (guiding strategy and support services):
2016 will see Meningitis Now launch ‘Vision 2020’, their new 5-year strategic plan, which used ‘Meningitis and Me’ as a key part of its evidence base. The findings will also be used to inform the support services offered by the charity to ensure they are of the greatest value to those that use them.
Influencing others (campaigns, policy, fundraising):
The report was used to inform the evidence sessions that led to the scheduling of a parliamentary debate on the MenB vaccine. Copies of the report were also sent to every MP in the United Kingdom; you can read more here. The charity will now use the findings as evidence to raise awareness about viral meningitis among policy-makers and healthcare professionals. The report will be a valuable tool to demonstrate need to current and potential supporters of the charity in fundraising activities.