MP urges de­bate on menin­gi­tis strain

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

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

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