HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Paris, France or Virtually from your home or work.

6th Edition of World Congress on Infectious Diseases

June 24-26, 2024 | Paris, France

June 24 -26, 2024 | Paris, France
Infection 2024

Clare Symonds

Speaker at Infection Conference - Clare Symonds
Meningitis Research Foundation, United Kingdom
Title : Communicating for change – Perspectives on messages and channels in the meningitis belt


UNICEF and MRF have conducted primary research on communications about meningitis in high-burden countries in the meningitis belt; a string of 26 countries that experience the highest burden of disease. The research was designed to assess approaches to, and the need for, communication and engagement with a range of audiences about meningitis. 

This forms part of UNICEF and MRF’s collaborative work to support the delivery of Pillar 5 (Advocacy and Engagement) in the WHO Defeating Meningitis by 2030 Global Road Map. This research is designed to inform and contribute to the delivery of the following strategic goals:

17: Ensure and raise awareness of communities about the impact of meningitis and available support after meningitis. 

18: Ensure that people and communities know how to access meningitis vaccines, other prevention, and support after meningitis, and that they value and demand them.

19: Maintain high vaccine confidence.

The methodology consisted of a literature review and questionnaire, with responses collected from April – July 2022. Offered in English and French, the questionnaire was distributed online to communications professionals across the region. Invitations were extended to UNICEF country teams, members of the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) and other Road Map implementing partners. In addition to multiple choice and open text questions, respondents were invited to upload communication materials and contextual information.

Analysis of the responses revealed that funding and resourcing are key barriers to communication initiatives across the region. Consequently, nearly all respondents are more likely to adapt existing resources for communicating about meningitis and meningitis vaccination, rather than create new ones. 

While respondents identified multiple audiences as targets of meningitis communications, the purposes of communications and materials/tools provided reflected outreach that was largely appropriate for caregivers or the general population.

Social media is used by all respondents, with the primary purpose of distributing information, and Facebook is the most common platform reported. That said, only half of respondents reported a policy in place to guide social media outreach.

The findings of the report will inform the development of a meningitis communication framework that can be used to deliver targeted communication and engagement activities in the meningitis belt and beyond.


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