By Ayo Ajayi
Between 2015 and 2017, there was no significant improvement in the efforts to reduce Malaria cases worldwide. In recent statistics by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the estimated number of death from malaria within the same period stood at 435, 000 worldwide. It remained virtually unchanged over the previous year.
In Nigeria, Malaria is a major public health problem which accounts for more cases and deaths than any other country in the world. It is a risk for 97% of Nigeria’s population. There are an estimated 100 million malaria cases with over 300,000 deaths per year in Nigeria and contributes to an estimated 11% of maternal mortality.
In order to contribute her quota to reduce these scary figures in Nigeria, and in line with the theme for this year’s World Malaria Day, (#ZeroMalariaStartsWithMe), the Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI) on Saturday, May 25, 2019 organised free Medical Outreach and Football tournament for Agege residents at Youth Sports Centre, Ile-Pako, Amoo, Agege, Lagos.
YEDI with her partners, ExxonMobil; Access-Bank-supported Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation; as well as media support from Eko FM and Radio Lagos, rendered services including malaria testing and treatment, blood pressure test, blood sugar and Hepatitis B tests, HIV/AIDS tests and counselling, medical consultation, pharmacy services, distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) with usage demonstrations and distribution of information on global best practices on Malaria. Over 500 families were attended to at the event
Executive Director, YEDEI, Mr Oje Ivagba expressed satisfaction with the event and the large turnout of community leaders and the residents, who benefited from the services provided, particularly in this fasting period.
Baales (community leaders) from 10 communities were present, which, according to Ivagba, showed that they understood the values of the YEDI’s fight against Malaria.
Beyond the event, YEDI, he said, would always connect with them to assist those who have referrers and ensure their compliance and adherence to the use of drugs and Long-Lasting Insecticide Nets given to them, in order to eradicate Malaria scourge from the community.
“The message being passed across is that the community can prevent malaria with the right information. When those who are present are rightly informed, they will, in turn, educate others on the right use of medications and about malaria prevention and/or treatment. So, the work continues,” he said.
YEDI, he said, would be giving out 1000 bed nets at the event and trained them on how to use them.
In his remarks, the Programmes Officer, Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation, Ayodeji Ojo, noted that ACT Foundation supported YEDI because over the years they have become very good at what they do; particularly in the fight against Malaria. He added that the experience at the event was very remarkable.
“In my experience working with communities, I noticed that it is very difficult to have community leaders and the people come out in this very large number; particularly the market women who should be at their businesses at this time, but are out here getting screened and sensitized about the Malaria situation.
“We are really excited that YEDI is doing this much and we say they should continue to do the good work and for us, we will continue to support them as far as it goes,” he said.
YEDI is a non-profit organisation with evidence-based programmes designed to build young people’s assets, facilitate their access to health services, and promote their adherence to healthy behaviours. Established in 2011, YEDI’s programmes have benefitted over 180,000 young people across four project locations (Abuja, Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Ogun) in over 600 schools and community sites.