Omotola: it’s ‘about time’ we end malaria in Africa
Nollywood star and philanthropist Dr Omotola J Ekeinde believes we are long overdue for a youth campaign to end malaria in Africa. She reveals why she’s proud to Draw The Line Against Malaria.
Hailing from Lagos State, Nollywood star and philanthropist Dr Omotola J Ekeinde is all too familiar with malaria. In fact, most Nigerians experience and live with malaria as part of everyday life.
"Malaria is something we’ve all dealt with in our lives," says Omotola, "In Nigeria, everyone has had it one time or another. To be honest a lot of people don’t think about it - you think it’s normal, like having a headache. So, it is refreshing to be a part of this campaign that is tackling malaria head on as a major problem."
Nigeria carries the highest malaria burden in the world, with 25% of the world’s cases and 24% of global malaria deaths. The disease affects millions of people every year in the country, particularly threatening pregnant women and children. According to the most recent data, malaria kills over 95,000 Nigerians every year.
"I don't know any Nigerian that says 'I've never had malaria'," says Omotola.
"It would be such a beautiful thing if malaria was eradicated from the whole world and especially from Africa. It’s a very big problem for us. It would take away such a big worry for us, ending malaria would mean peace of mind."
The Draw The Line campaign aims to spread the word that we don’t have to accept malaria. We don’t have to accept the deaths, the lost hours of work or school, the missed opportunities.
"Now is the time to take our futures back," says Omotola: "I think this is the time we need to stop and say, okay: look at this. Do we really have to live all our lives with this, especially when it actually can be ended?"
In recent years incredible progress has been made in reducing malaria deaths and clearing the path to ending malaria. But without sufficient funding, and with Covid-19 adding more pressure, that progress is in danger.
With this campaign, Omotola hopes that young people in Africa will become engaged with the fight against malaria, calling on leaders to take action and sparking change in their own communities.
"I think the bold, creative approach sets this campaign apart ... it's going to be younger, edgy."
"It feels good being part of a campaign that’s bringing the young people on board."
The energy and style of the campaign featuring the art of Láolú NYC and the direction of Meji Alabi stands out for Omotola. "I think the bold, creative approach sets this campaign apart. Láolú's art is very well known and respected, it is a vibrant addition," she says, "and with Meji Alabi shooting and directing this, I think it’s a powerful mix. It's a good vibe, it's going to be younger, edgy."
Omotola believes that a world without malaria is possible if we work together to achieve it. Join her and Draw The Line Against Malaria today.