It comes as no surprise that here at BellaNaija.com, we love to support Africans around the world tremendously seeking ways to positively improve the world’s cultural continent and help it compete with other continents on the international scene.
Meet Ebele Mogo, the founding President of Engage Africa Foundation. She is currently applying for a grant called Canada’s Rising Stars in Global Health – a program aimed to tap into the creativity, knowledge and skills of emerging Canadian innovators to solve some of the most persistent health challenges in the developing world through scientific/technological, business, and social innovation.
Ebele who is the only Nigerian contestant applying for this grant, will like all BellaNaijarians around the world to vote for her. If she wins, she will be financially supported to raise awareness of chronic diseases in Sub Saharan African countries and advocate for health conscious policies in Nigeria and the rest of the African countries.
BellaNaija’s Editorial Assistant Damilare Aiki gets in touch with Ebele and asks her some questions on why we should support and vote for her.
What is Canada’s Rising Stars in Global Health all about?
Canada’s Rising Stars in Global Health is a wonderful opportunity for future leaders in global health to be supported in executing ideas that will make a big difference in improving health equity and outcomes all over the world. There are two parts to the grant application – One is a technical application form that the applicant fills out stipulating all the details of the project for which they want the grant. We have already done this.
The second part is a video application which is an opportunity for your idea to be shared with the public and for the funding organization to measure your ability to engage the public which is indicated by how many people actually want the idea and will support it with their votes.
When you eventually win, what will you do for Africa most especially Nigeria?
Immediately we get the grant, which we will thanks to the readers of this website, Engage Africa Foundation plans to stop this problem through a broad strategy which involves research, monitoring and surveillance, health promotion and knowledge transfer, interdisciplinary partnerships with academic institutions, media and labour organizations for sustainable health promotion on this issue and policy advocacy in conjunction with the regional World Health Organisation office to advocate comprehensive policies on chronic diseases at the level of the health system and government.
The first step in unfolding this strategy is the implementation of the “WHO STEP” wise surveillance instrument which will show exactly what chronic diseases and risk factors are prevalent in the specific context of Nigeria. This will involve the administration of a cross sectional survey and physical and biochemical measurements on a representative sample of the population.
We are going to use the evidence from this research as tool for policy advocacy. We will do this by convening a meeting of the high level stakeholders such as the health system leaders, governments leaders, regional WHO office and partner research institutions to share this evidence and propose recommendations for these stakeholders to ratify, such as a comprehensive chronic disease policy for Nigerians.
We are not just aiming for a top-down approach. We believe that ownership is crucial for sustainability. We want Nigerians to own this issue because it is their health and indeed life involved and so we are going to be working with all sectors of society in executing health promotion campaigns that will make Nigerians more aware of how they expose themselves to the risk of chronic disease and preventive measures to take and lifestyle changes to adopt. We will work with academic institutions to have peer educators in schools, universities and colleges. We will work with the media in developing highly entertaining but also highly educative campaigns in print, television and radio to this effect. We will work with labour organizations and employers of labour to increasingly adopt workplace health measures that reduce chronic disease risk factors.
When was Engage Africa founded and what does the organization do?
Engage Africa Foundation is a very recent organization, founded this year although it was conceived last summer. Especially as I engaged in intellectual discourse during my Masters programme in Global Health and Public Policy and got more experience in global health through doing some research with the World Health Organisation, it became very pertinent that although non-communicable diseases are easily preventable, they are not being accorded the necessary urgency to see to their prevention. Much more attention is being given to infectious diseases, yet in a few years non-communicable diseases will be accounting for the greater share of death and illness in Sub-Saharan Africa.
These non-communicable diseases are such diseases as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, strokes, hypertension among others. They share common risk factors such as indiscriminate consumption of alcohol, smoking, poor diet and inadequate exercise and as such they are easily prevented, yet so many Nigerians are dying of these diseases and then their families get pushed further into poverty.
Unlike in developed countries, in Sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria for example) people don’t generally die of these diseases when they are old, rather they die of them when they are young, still have dependants and still are full of promise and meaningful contributions they can make to society. Due to this burden, we are missing out on socially and economically productive individuals, and that is so unfortunate.
At Engage Africa Foundation we want to address this issue, and most importantly in a sustainable manner that will actually have an impact in the long term. I am not doing this alone. I have an amazing team on my board. Nadege Ade is the Vice President and has spearheaded and managed a variety of health projects in East and Central Africa and consulted for the World Health Organization and United Nations Childrens’ Fund, Ruth N. who is the Secretary has done a lot of work in human rights of which health is core, involving research, project coordination, and raising awareness in the global community on humanitarian issues, Tomiwa Adaramola our treasurer has been involved in a plethora of health promotion, community outreach and development campaigns in Waterloo, Canada and Cyril Tata is our very hardworking web designer and strategist who has worked on a vast number of sustainable IT development projects and is a regular speaker and commentator at computer science seminars and conferences in France, where he lives.
That is our vision for the foreseeable future. Please check out our website – www.EngageAfricaFoundation.com which should be fully active in a few weeks. Like our Facebook page – www.Facebook.com/EngageAfricaFoundation. Most importantly give our video application on Canada’s rising stars in Global health a thumbs up and get your friends and loved ones to. We need everyone- your cousins, brothers, sisters, parents, aunties, uncles to vote to make this happen. If you have more questions, please email us at [email protected]
To watch Ebele’s Video Application and vote for her, Click here – http://crs.
Ebele Mogo, we wish you all the best and we hope you win.