Yemi: ‘I have known malaria forever’
Nigerian Afropop star Yemi Alade wants to see the end of malaria, a disease she says has affected every single person that she knows. She’s joined the Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign, turning up the pressure to end this for good.
"Malaria has affected every single person that I know," says Yemi Alade. The award-winning singer hails from Nigeria, where malaria is almost unavoidable. "I myself have definitely suffered from malaria, countless times."
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, loses over N645.7 billion ($1.1 billion) yearly dealing with the world’s highest malaria burden. No less than 200,000 Nigerians lost their lives to malaria in 2021. "Pretty much all my life growing up here, malaria is one of those diseases that happen frequently… It’s hardly ever possible for two months to go by without finding someone has suddenly fallen ill with malaria."
"Imagine an Africa with Zero Malaria... the potential would be unmatched."
In countries where malaria is prevalent, even such a deadly disease can become normalised – but Yemi knows that Africans should not have to accept it as part of their lives. "At a point in time where we all feel like malaria is a normal thing – we’re used to it – it feels good to be a part of a project that actually intends to alleviate this disease. It’s not normal, there’s nothing normal about it. It’s brutal."
Yemi joins forces with global stars and malaria champions as part of the Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign, lending her voice, her moves and her music towards a bold and energetic push to end the disease.
"The thing that attracted me to this campaign is the idea that my voice will assist people who are dedicated to kicking malaria out of this world… I want to see the end of malaria, so I definitely am blessed to be part of this."
"With 500,000 deaths, with kids dying every minute? Malaria needs to go."
A child dies of malaria every minute, and the disease has a crippling effect on many aspects of life in endemic countries, from education to finances. Yemi knows the impact malaria has on communities – treatments are expensive for families, and caring for ill relatives means lost working time. These knock-on effects weigh heavily on the shoulders of women and girls. "Malaria comes with debt. It definitely affects the socio-economic status of any country," Yemi says, "My fellow women, they are the main caregivers in the home. When malaria strikes, they have to abandon everything to cater to the family member."
Malaria cases and deaths have been creeping up in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic – but there’s a wave of exciting new tools on the horizon, from cutting-edge vaccines to innovative treatments. It’s time to put the world back on the path to ending malaria.
"Imagine a world with Zero Malaria, imagine an Africa with Zero Malaria," says Yemi, "The potential would be unmatched… The restrictions on life, on livelihood, that malaria has put on every one of us – it would be relinquished forever."
"Other continents have gotten rid of malaria – why can’t we?"
Yemi believes that we can achieve Zero Malaria if the world comes together, just like it did to face Covid. "The world definitely needs to continue to invest in fighting malaria to the very end. We can see what we did when we came together to fight Covid, it was a global problem – malaria is one of the deadliest and oldest diseases there has been, it only makes sense for the world leaders, for everyone who is capable, to come together."
We have the opportunity put an end to malaria once and for all – the pressure’s on for leaders to take action.
Join Yemi in standing up to one of our oldest and deadliest enemies – we are the generation that can end malaria for good.