June 24, 2022
Nigerian writer, speaker and feminist icon Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has called for an urgent need to aggressively tackle malaria and other diseases that continue to plague the continent. She spoke on Thursday, 23rd June, at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) held on the sideline of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Summit is pivotal for world leaders to reaffirm commitments to end malaria and NTDs – diseases that cause untold suffering and misery to millions of people in Africa. The Summit had in attendants presidents, prime ministers, CEOs, philanthropists, scientific experts, global influencers and community champions, culminating in a high-level session and a Call-to-Action for world leaders.
Chimamanda, while addressing the August gathering, went down memory lane and narrated “a few personal malaria stories” on the effects of malaria on her and her siblings.
She jokingly reminisced how her encounter with malaria in her teenage years contributed to her not being in class when “quadratic equations” was being taught. Since that episode, Chimamanda said she has made ending malaria a cause she would gladly champion.
“An illness can rob you of your talent, special skill and magic. Unfortunately, so many diseases are killing and blighting people’s lives.”
Chimamanda called for bolder strategic partnerships and urged global leaders to make bold and decisive moves at the Kigali summit, noting that endemic and donor countries, civil society, the private sector, academia, and non-profit organisations all have a role to play.
“25% of death in Nigeria is from malaria. Why are so many people dying globally from Malaria and other neglected tropical diseases?” she asked.
Other speakers at the event included: Dr Osagie Ehanire, Federal Minister of Health, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Dr Philip Wellkhoff, Director, Malaria, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General, World Trade Organization; Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank amongst others.