Meningitis Research Foundation & Keytree combine to create a Meningitis Progress Tracker to monitor meningitis and neonatal sepsis globally

Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) is a leading UK and international charity working to defeat meningitis and septicaemia wherever they exist. Meningitis and neonatal sepsis are the second largest infectious killers of children under five and although there has been some success in tackling these diseases, progress still lags behind other infectious diseases. Meningitis strikes quickly and can affect anyone of any age.

MRF engaged Keytree to produce a digital platform that would display a clear picture of meningitis incidence using the best available national and global estimates and data. The key objective of the project was to produce an engaging Meningitis Progress Tracker dashboard that would present, in an easy to digest way, the global burden of meningitis and neonatal sepsis for children under five. The collaboration also provided MRF with access to a tool that allowed comparison between multiple data sources. Following an agile process over 12 weeks the solution set is now successfully live and productive.

“Progress against meningitis has lagged behind many other infectious diseases because the evidence to generate global change has been missing. Now key data and meningitis estimates are together in one place and we have an incredible advocacy tool to highlight what needs to be done but also to help monitor and track progress as we take action to defeat meningitis by 2030.”

Vinny Smith – CEO at MRF

“Keytree has enabled us to work with complex data in ways we didn’t know were possible. Their expertise is invaluable and their passion for the project means that it doesn’t feel like working with a consultancy or agency; it feels like they are part of the team.”

Claire Wright – Medical Information Manager at MRF

Cleaning and transforming data to create new insights

One of the major challenges in developing the Tracker was the data – it came from many different sources, in a wide variety of formats and structures. Data was sourced from Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), World Health Organization and Maternal Child Epidemiology Estimation (WHO-MCEE), Johns Hopkins University (MCEE/JHU) and the IVAC ViewHub. Keytree’s proven expertise in data and analytics, in particular, skills in understanding data across many industries and domains resulted in the delivery of a consistent set of data sources which included master data organised by country.

One of the main visualisation types used in the Tracker is mapping. One such map shows how there is a concentration of deaths and cases in the meningitis belt which is comprised of Central African countries – this concentration is shown by specific use of colour.

Throughout the building of the Tracker Keytree worked closely with MRF to select the most appropriate visuals to convey the stories as effectively as possible. One of the visuals plotted mortality against the socio-demographic index (an indication as to where a country sits on the spectrum of development) and access to health professionals with the size of the bubble representing the mortality rate.

New horizons with the Meningitis Progress Tracker

A driving principle behind the design of the Meningitis Progress Tracker was interactivity. For instance, a user from a specific country can focus in on data and infographics specific to their region. To further enhance interactivity the Tracker contains a tab that allows the comparison of progress between data filtered in two different ways. This can be used, for example, to compare progress in countries within the meningitis belt against those outside it.

A consistent visual design is used throughout and the Tracker was built with a consistent colour palette and text style – allowing users to focus on the data and the stories it tells in an intuitive manner. The result is a powerful tool in the fight against meningitis across the world.

“We are proud to be able to use our expertise to support the MRF team in their tireless and immensely valuable work, to tackle meningitis around the world. The positive impact they have on people and communities across the globe is truly humbling.”

Tim Kyle – Managing Director at Keytree

About Meningitis Research Foundation

Meningitis Research Foundation is a leading UK and international charity working to defeat meningitis wherever it exists. Meningitis strikes quickly and can affect anyone of any age. We are driven by the call of people who have experienced the devastating effects in their lives. Their demand is simple and powerful – to ensure “no other family has to go through what we have”.

Our vision is of a world free from meningitis and septicaemia. A world where effective vaccinations can protect everyone. A world where people who do get the diseases get the most effective diagnosis and treatments possible. A world where people affected and their families have the best support and information.

To achieve this, we bring together people and expertise, linking patient experience, research, policy and practice. We do this by supporting research into effective vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. We share results of the research with the public, health care professionals and research networks to raise awareness of what they can do to increase personal, family and community protection, optimise treatments and strengthen health systems. We also provide direct support to people and families affected.

“The Meningitis Progress Tracker has exceeded all of our expectations. Keytree worked within our timeframe and budget to deliver everything we asked for and a lot more. We have shown it to some of our stakeholders who have been genuinely amazed by what has been achieved.”

Rob Dawson – Director of Communications, Advocacy & Support at MRF