Dr Jibola is on a mission to end malaria
Witnessing the impact of malaria on his patients first-hand, Dr Jibola is passionate about a better future – and after losing his friend to this disease he’s even more committed to ending it for good.
"I treat patients with malaria almost on a daily basis," says Dr Ajibola Ojikutu, known as Jibola, a doctor at a general hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. As a Senior Medical Officer, malaria is a constant fixture in his professional life.
What he’s witnessed working in emergency care and maternal health has made him a passionate champion for Zero Malaria. "I worked in maternal health for a couple of years. Malaria in pregnancy is a huge burden on Africa itself – in fact, one in every 3 pregnant women will have malaria."
"To end malaria in our lifetime, we need an 'all-hands-on-deck' approach."
Malaria in pregnancy endangers a woman’s life and can also lead to complications including miscarriage and low birth weight. "Pregnancy itself is a very tasking period and it has a way of reducing the immunity of women in fighting diseases," Dr Jibola explains.
"When I see pregnant women at the hospital, one major thing I tell them is that prevention is better than cure," he says, “We talk to them about insecticide treated nets and environmental sanitation."
Having worked in different hospitals from primary to tertiary care centres, Dr Jibola understands there are gaps in prevention and treatment for malaria. Mosquito nets are scarce in rural and isolated areas of the country, and many people, including pregnant women, are not receiving the preventative treatment they need to protect themselves.
"Malaria is very, very deadly," says Dr Jibola, "Every effort has to be put in place to bring it down as much as possible."
Sadly, Dr Jibola lost a friend who died of malaria in pregnancy. This fueled his determination to ensure that one day no one will lose their life to this preventable and treatable disease.
"It’s the time for us to intensify our efforts and ensure we can achieve zero malaria in this generation."
"To end malaria in our lifetime, we need an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach,” says Dr Jibola. "We have the knowledge and the tools needed, but we need to intensify financial support and political commitment from world leaders and heads of government in order to keep this fight going."
"The Covid-19 pandemic took away some of our progress … it’s known that between 2019 and 2020 we had an increase in mortality from malaria. That’s a big blow, a huge setback and it’s something we should work on."
"This generation has youth, has social media, has energetic people, it’s the time for us to intensify our efforts and ensure we can achieve zero malaria in this generation."
We are the generation that can end malaria. Join the Zero Malaria Starts With Me movement and call on your leaders today.