By Johnstone Kpilaakaa
Recently, Social Voices reported on how an initiative is using behavioural change communication to fight malaria in Nigeria. Odinaka Kingsley Obeta, the founder of the initiative—Block Malaria Malaria Initiative was appointed by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) as a Youth Advisor to the Alliance in 2021.
ALMA is a groundbreaking coalition of African Union Heads of State and Government working across African countries with various partners including Regional Economic Communities and development partners to eliminate malaria by 2030.
As a member of the ALMA youth advisory council, Odinaka and 10 other African youths are providing ALMA with strategic and operational guidance on engaging young people in the fight against malaria and the movement towards universal health coverage.
Prior to his appointment, he was a Malaria champion at Malaria No More UK. “As youths, our contribution to global health is beyond the use of placards on street campaigns, participation in policy development and decision making is one key area that must be prioritised for effective youth engagement. Support young people to use their ideas and innovative minds toward ending diseases such as malaria,” Odinaka said. He recently participated in the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) where over $ 4.25 Billion was raised for the elimination of malaria.
Africa alone accounts for 93% of global malaria cases and 94% of global malaria deaths. There is an urgent need for action in 10 high-burden African countries, which are responsible for 67% of global malaria cases and 62% of deaths. They are Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of The Congo, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Angola and Tanzania.
Earlier in August, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Nigeria End Malaria Council (NEMC) headed by Aliko Dangote. The council is a public-private partnership formed to support the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) in achieving its goal of ending malaria in the country by 2030.
It costs approximately $5 per Nigerian to prevent malaria, but 50%– almost 6 billion – of the activities included in the country’s National Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) are unfunded. The Council seeks to mobilise resources to remove operational barriers and close budget gaps, advocating to keep malaria elimination high on the national development agenda and meeting quarterly to ensure their commitments are honoured.