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National charity launches meningitis helpline

National charity launches meningitis helpline

The Meningitis Trust today launched a 24-hour meningitis Helpline providing free information and support to people throughout New Zealand.

The free call Helpline, 0800 446 087, provides emotional support and immediate facts and information about all forms of meningitis and meningococcal disease. Staffed by specially trained nurses, the service has proved successful in Australia, providing support for over 20,000 callers during its first year.

The decision to extend the Helpline to New Zealand came after cases of meningococcal disease continue to be at epidemic levels and requests for help and support have increased.

Meningitis Trust, General Manager Fiona Colbert said; “We are delighted to be able to offer this service at a time when fear of the disease throughout New Zealand is so high. The 24-hour Helpline will give people from any part of the country, access to specially trained nurses, day or night. Meningitis and meningococcal disease can cause devastation to families and communities and the role of the new Helpline is to provide support for people at the time they most need it, for as long as they need it.”

Kevin Milne ,presenter from TVNZ ‘s Fair Go, is pleased to be supporting the Meningitis Trust and the launch of the free call 0800 meningitis helpline as a valuable community support service for all New Zealanders, especially at a time when the cases of meningococcal disease and meningitis are so high.

Margaret Stanley from Auckland would have lost her daughter to meningococcal disease last year but Margaret realised the signs and symptoms and took prompt action. Margaret now receives support from the Meningitis Trust and has become a community advocate for the disease, saying, “When your child is rushed to hospital with meningococcal disease, you think the worst. Nobody understands how you feel. I wish there had been someone for me to talk to for support and answer the countless questions I had about what my daughter was battling to survive. I am confident this Helpline will prove to be beneficial for not only those experiencing the disease, but also to anybody with questions.”

The Meningitis Trust free call Helpline is available from 15th July 2003 on 0800 446 087. For more information about the work of the Meningitis Trust, or how you can get involved, please call 09 428 0828.

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