MP urges debate on meningitis strain
THE fight to raise awareness of a deadly strain of meningitis has been raised in Parliament, following the death of Hounslow student Paawan Purba.
Seema Malhotra, the MP for Feltham and Heston, has called for a debate in the autumn after meeting with the Purba family, from Heston, devastated by the loss of their young daughter who died last month in hospital less than 48 hours after becoming ill with Meningitis W.
She did not exhibit the telltale rash associated with meningitis and was thought to be suffering with flu.
Ms Malhotra, who attended the funeral of the 20-year-old last week, has also written to the health minister for more to be done to help prevent additional deaths.
She is also keen to The Uxbridge Gazette Series increase the take-up of free vaccinations available to people under the age of 25.
Ms Malhotra said: “Our hearts go out to the family who have suffered such a devastating loss.
“Paawan was a pharmacology student at the University of East London with a bright future ahead of her.
“Despite the efforts of PHE and charities like Meningitis Now to raise awareness of this disease amongst younger age groups, and the fact that a vaccine is freely available to students, take-up levels nationally remain stubbornly low at 36%, with a considerable regional variance from as low as 5%.
“Much more needs to be done to address low levels of awareness of the disease and to increase the take up of vaccinations. We need action now to stop more young people, like Paawan, needlessly dying from this preventable disease.”
In support of the family, Ms Malhotra first raised the issue in Parliament on Thursday September 15, when she urged for more research to end the horrific disease.
Meanwhile a JustGiving page set up by Paawan’s family to raise funds for the Meningitis Research Foundation has been flooded with donations, passing £10k.
(Left) Paawan Purba and (right) MP
n ‘DEVASTATING LOSS’: Seema Malhotra