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Meningitis Encephalitis Help Africa

MEHA is a non-profit organisation created to:

  • Setting up free vaccination camps for people of all ages.

  • Covering treatment costs for infected patients.

  • Educating people on how to prevent contracting and spreading of the diseases.

  • Support for families who have lost love ones due to these diseases through building community support groups.


What are Meningitis and Encephalitis?

Human Skeleton Sketch

~Meningitis ; A serious disease in which there is inflammation of the meninges, caused by viral or bacterial infection, and marked by intense headache and fever, sensitivity to light, and muscular rigidity.

~Encephalitis ; Inflammation of the brain caused by an infection such as Meningitis.

~Meningococcal ; the combination of both meningitis and encephalitis. A life threatening disease that should result in hospitalisation immediately with intravenous antibiotics and high care.


  • Fevers

  • Stiff neck

  • Migraines

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Confusion & difficulty in concentrating

  • Seizures

  • Sleepiness and difficulty walking

  • Light sensitivity

  • Loss of appetite

  • Skin rash


  • Hearing loss

  • Loss of vision

  • Memory loss

  • Learning disabilities

  • Gait problems

  • Seizures

  • Kidney Failure

  • Amputation of limbs

  • Paralysation

  • Septicaemia 

  • Failure of the digestive system

  • Death

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Meningitis affects more than 400-million people in the African belt a year, where patients usually die within 24hrs to 48hrs of symptoms occurring. The local population in southern Africa often call it “musoro’, meaning head, and the number of deaths from ‘musoro’ is not accounted for under the Meningitis toll, but is over double the amount known. The disease is often mistaken for malaria, and so patients end up dying from receiving the wrong treatment.
Those who don’t die from Meningitis are at risk of death due to Encephalitis. The patients’ brain enlarges due to the infection, and 50% of the time this leads to fatality.
The highest burden of the disease is in the belt of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east. Around 30 000 cases are still reported each year and 80% of these have been fatal.

Lungs Sketch


The survival rate for those who do not receive treatment is anywhere from 19-30%. Meningitis requires immediate hospitalisation, as early diagnosis and treatment will prevent brain damage and death. The intravenous treatment depends on the strain of Meningitis; however Ceftriaxone or Cefotaxime plus Vancomycinis more often than not, are very effective.

Illustrated Mint


  • Vaccination:  MPSV4, Menomune, MCV4, Menactra.

  • Costs:   $2.50 to $117.00, however; through MEHA the vaccination is free.

  • Effectiveness of vaccination: 85%-90%. 

  • Age to get vaccine: 11-12 years + booster 16-18 years.

  • Vaccine for adults that:

1. Are living in a dorm as a first-year college student.

2. Work with Meningococcal bacteria in a lab.

3. Are in the military.

4. Are traveling to or living in a country where Meningococcal disease is common, such as in certain parts of Africa.

5. Have a damaged spleen, or it's been removed.

6. Have an immune system disorder called Terminal Complement Ceficiency.

7. Are taking eculizumab (Soliris)

8. May have been exposed to Meningitis during an outbreak.

9. Have HIV.

Illustrated Rosemary

Everyone kept telling me:
"You are so young and innocent, wait until you experience this, or wait until life hits you with that."
But then I thought:  "Why should I wait? What is the benefit from getting shot down by life?"
So; I decided to use my innocence to my advantage and go against life head on.  I'll learn along the way; but whatever I go through will be worth it if it means I can help even one person in the end!

Caitlin Amber Snyman

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A huge thank you to Waverly Blankets in Zimbabwe for the donation of blankets towards our foundation. Any and all donations are accepted with great thanks and are distributed to families in the rural areas who have struggled against this disease. We pray that this small token will keep them more comfortable during their trials.


Collaborating with Pastor Desmond who is well known for his many missionary trips around Africa, in which he encounters many meningitis sufferers. In order to expand our help radius, we try to supply as much as we can to the Pastor and his crew who distribute the items to all villages they travel to. It is an honour and a privilege to be in contact with such a strong willed team.
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Turning Interest Into Action

Unfortunately, as with all non profit organisations, funds are low and sponsorship is hard to come across.  Vaccinations cost a lot and often require boosters. This is a large cost for those who earn as little as $20 a month; in poor housing with little or no fresh drinking water. 
There are multiple strains of Meningococcal - bacterial, viral, chronic and fungal. The spread of these strains are enlarged a dirty water supply, and transmission between the infected and non-infected is rapid once the immune system is low.
Those who have lost family members to these diseases are forced to take over the role of provider, which is highly taxing for those who could be just 11 years or the elderly - who can be over 60.
In order to confirm diagnosis; a lumbar puncture must be carried out as well as blood tests, which can amount to over $5,000.
The procedure after confirmation is an intravenous antibiotic which takes 14 days to complete. This can be highly costly.
By taking on the cost of these treatments, MEHA will not only be saving lives; but also decreasing burdensome expenditure to the African population.
Even $1 donation can go a long way in saving someones life.


My Story

My name is Caitlin Snyman from Zimbabwe. I am the founder of MEHA. 

I’ve started this foundation because, I contracted Meningitis in 2015. For 3 years I had an on-going battle for my life.  The Meningitis went into my brain and resulted in Encephalitis and my brain swelled.  Any pressure could disturb the molecular balance and would result in death; therefore treatment out of Zimbabwe was not an option.  I was put on a course of antibiotics but was taken off it too soon for it to have lasting effects; so a year later, I had a relapse.  During this time I lost to ability to walk, my digestive system shut down, my memory was temporarily lost; my eyesight was distorted and my hearing was affected. I could no longer read or write and any sound - no matter how small, left me crying. I had a slim to no chance of survival, and I cannot think of anyone having to go through what I did. 

There is so little knowledge on Meningitis in Africa that proper treatment is hardly available and most treatment is mismanaged. My vision is to prevent as many cases of Meningitis and Encephalitis in my power, and bring more effective treatments to Africa - because it is my home.  In my efforts, I hope to minimise the lasting effects of Meningitis and bring a better living standard to the local population.

I do all this in Gods name and give him all the glory.

Psalm 112:5-9

It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He will maintain his cause in judgment. For he will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is upheld, he will not fear, Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries. He has given freely to the poor, His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted in honor.

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A Zebra is a well known animal in Africa. It is majestic and beautiful to look at, but as everyone knows, a zebra is not black with white stripes, or white with back stripes.
It is equally both black and white, and without the stripes, a zebra would not be classified as a zebra.
This is a metaphor; the races in Africa are multi coloured, and one without the other do not make Africa what it is today. Only by bonding together do we make Africa whole. Only by working together can we better this planet for the future.

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Harare, Zimbabwe


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