Young people account for the largest proportion of Africa’s population at 60%. However, for too long our leaders of tomorrow have not been truly engaged in the continent’s fight to end malaria – despite being profoundly affected by the physical, social and economic impact of this disease.
Across the continent, young people are brimming with energy, fresh perspectives, creativity, and the power to influence one another, equipping them with the potential to make lasting change.
In early February at the African Union Summit, youth inclusion was at the forefront as leaders announced ‘Draw The Line Against Malaria’ – a new youth-focused campaign created to inspire young people to join the Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement. Other strategies for youth collaboration included the establishment of the ALMA Youth Council to improve involvement of young people in high-level activity.
For our malaria champions Aloyce and Odinaka, being selected for the Youth Council is both a well-deserved honour and an opportunity to make youth voices heard in the fight against malaria.
Odinaka tweeted: "Young people carry such an energy, passion and innovative ideas needed in the fight against malaria. We believe that we are the generation that can #endmalaria and if given the right opportunities, we are ready to make our contributions to the fight!"
Aloyce Urassa, from Tanzania, is a second-year medical laboratory science student focusing on malaria research. After learning about the impact of malaria, he began advocating for an end to the disease and better healthcare access for all.
Odinaka Kingsley Obeta is active in community advocacy, promoting test, treat and track campaigns in Plateau State, Nigeria. He is a final year medical laboratory science student and a founder of the Block Malaria Project.