Youth champion Bello takes action on World Malaria Day
Youth champion Bello Abdul Hakeem took to Osun State, Nigeria to Draw the Line Against Malaria on World Malaria Day.
Each year on 25 April, World Malaria Day presents an opportunity to take action against malaria – a preventable and treatable disease that continues to steal the life of a child every two minutes.
Bello, a software engineer and co-founder of start-up Dokia.AI set out to provide a malaria medical outreach campaign in a rural community in called Olode in Osun State, Nigeria.
Olode village has very little access to healthcare, with no medical doctors available to serve its people. They rely on just two patrons to provide essential healthcare to serve a village surrounded by 300 hamlets. In Nigeria, which carries a quarter of the global malaria burden, communities such as Olode village are extremely vulnerable.
People weathering the risks of malaria without access to proper healthcare were able to receive testing and treatment.
On World Malaria Day, Bello sought to provide this community with life-saving medical personnel, rapid diagnostic malaria testing and anti-malarial treatments. Bello partnered with organisations including: OAUTCH federal hospital, who provided doctors, nurses, pharmacists and equipment; the Nigerian National Youth Service Corps, who sent 10 youth corp members to support the outreach and Emzor and Fidson pharmaceuticals, who supplied key testing and treatments. 500 people weathering the risks of malaria without access to proper healthcare were able to receive testing and treatment for the disease.
Bello also used this opportunity to beta-test his AI program developed by his start-up Dokita.AI, which uses cutting edge technology and innovation to detect specific types of malaria parasite, improving surveillance of the disease.
However, to have longer lasting impact in this rural community and make progress towards ending malaria, awareness-raising and education is essential to promote behaviour and attitude changes. Bello and his team met with the Oba (traditional King) of the community to break down myths surrounding malaria, explain the importance of individual action, and emphasise the role of young people as the generation that will end malaria.
Bello and his team sang in the local language to spread awareness of malaria and mobilise the community to join the fight against this disease.
With the backing of the Oba, who declared his support for the Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign, Bello and his team set out into the community on foot with drummers. They sang in the local language to spread awareness of malaria and mobilise the community to join the fight against this disease – reaching thousands of people.
Leading up to World Malaria Day, Bello was also interviewed on 4 radio programs in different cities across Nigeria, calling on hundreds of thousands of young people and their leaders to Draw The Line Against Malaria.
Together, we can be the generation that will end malaria. Draw The Line Against Malaria today.
Images by Bello Abdul Hakeem and Samuel Eluyera