April 25th is the World Malaria Day,   a day commemorated annually to highlight the successes of efforts at curbing the scourge of malaria and the plight of the disease around the World. The WHO’s “World Malaria Report 2017”, shows that after an unprecedented period of success in global malaria control, progress has stalled. According to the report, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria, an increase of about 5 million cases over 2015 in 2016, while Deaths reached 445,000, a similar number to the previous year. In lamenting the situation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said, “We are now at a turning point. Without urgent action, we risk going backwards, and missing the global malaria targets for 2020 and beyond.”

Against this backdrop, Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI) and Westfield Development Initiative (WDI) are collaborating to organize a free football-themed Medical Outreach in commemoration of this year’s World Malaria Day. The outreach, tagged “Kick-Against-Malaria Football Tournament” will combating the scourge of Malaria using the convening power of football as an effective teaching platform for mobilizing and empowering young people and communities on malaria prevention and treatment, the event will take place as follows:

Venue: Pako Field, Omituntun Youth Centre, Akowonjo (By Zenith Bus Stop), Lagos

Date: Saturday April 28, 2018 | Time: 10am | Entry: Free

The event which is in line with this year’s global theme – #ReadyToBeatMalaria – through  advocacy and community mobilization, will convene 2000 residents of Alimosho community and feature a free mini-clinic with medical doctors and nurses for medical examination, malaria testing and treatment, free distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs), bed net usage demonstration, weight/height/BMI check, Blood Pressure and sugar tests, HIV/AIDS Counselling and Testing services, and general medical consult and counselling.

World Malaria Day recognizes the global effort to reduce the burden of malaria and provides an opportunity to raise awareness and generate support for the fight to end this preventable and treatable disease. This year’s event is proudly sponsored by global energy giant – ExxonMobil; leading real estate development company – Locke International Consultancy Limited; and healthcare and education-focused NGO –  Development Africa; with support from Alimosho Local Government Area and Emzor Pharmaceuticals.

With a vision to have a country without malaria, driven by healthy, productive people, families and communities, Westfield Development Initiative (WDI) is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of Nigerians by eliminating conditions and diseases (such as malaria) that hamper economic advancement. WDI’s mission is to make malaria extinct through advocacy, medical missions, malaria centres and public enlightenment, improve communities and environments where people live and work, and alleviate poverty through skills development and acquisition.

Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI) is a Nigerian-run nonprofit that uses the Grassroot Soccer football-for-development model to deliver structured social and behavioural change programmes designed to build young people’s assets, facilitate their access to health services, and promote their adherence to healthy behaviours. 137,000 disadvantaged adolescents have benefitted from YEDI’s programmes through in-school and out-of-school community interventions since inception in 2011. Since 2013, and with support from ExxonMobil and other donors, over 5000 people in underserved communities have benefitted from malaria prevention services through this World Malaria Day football tournament medical outreach, which has proven to be an effective platform for mobilizing and empowering people in underserved communities on malaria prevention, treatment, and best practices towards ending malaria.