United for Healthy Living

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Yinka Olatunbosun

The Edak Willie Empowerment Foundation has shown to all that the art platform is relevant in the campaign for healthy living. This explains the recent collaboration with artists in a workshop organised in Lagos recently to mark the World Health Day at the Nigeria Institute for International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos titled, “LASSA FEVER/Environmental Hygiene Sensitization Workshop for young Nigerians.”

The members of the audience were predominantly students drawn from various institutions in Lagos to educate them on the need to imbibe daily hygienic practices to counter viral diseases that spread and kill swiftly.

Edak Willie had been a television presenter and writer whose desire is to reach the heart of young people through programmes in audio-visual format, face-to-face conversations and the print medium. Against this background, she had set up the Edak Willie Foundation to address the needs of young people and promote unity and development.

“We set up Edak Willie Foundation to actualize a couple of dreams I had which centred around sustainable growth and development for Africa and Africans especially Nigerians because it is my country, my primary constituency,’’ she said while opening the morning session at the workshop.

“The challenges are the same wherever you go in Africa, save for a few variations, usually so, as a result of socio-cultural differences, religious slants or ethnicity. Our belief at Edak Willie Foundation is that the answers, though not necessarily simple are more readily available when we join hands; work together to create lasting solutions.”

Speaking at the gathering, the Nollywood actor, Segun Arinze told the audience about the Nollywood has produced several movies to sensitise the public on the dangers of viral diseases. One of such movies is 93 Days. The movie, starring Danny Glover, and a raft of brilliant actors, recounts the story of the brave Nigerian doctor, Mrs. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh who averted a disastrous spread of Ebola Viral Disease in Nigeria. Arinze said movies are powerful tools of reaching a mass audience simultaneously in the campaign for healthy practices.

For Yinka Davies, the workshop is not enough. She thought it is best to enlighten market women, artisans and people in rural communities about how community health matters can degenerate into a nationwide health liability.

The keynote address with the theme “Lassa Fever: A product of Unkempt Environment’’ was delivered by Dr. Charles Elikwu of the Department of Microbiology, Babcock University Teaching Hospital. He stressed that Lassa fever is endemic; reoccurring for almost five decades in Nigeria. One of the preventive measures against the killer disease is hand washing.

In his intervention, the Commissioner for Health, Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Dominic Ukpong suggested social distancing as well as basic hygienic practices in combating the spread of viral diseases.
The workshop was given life with the performance by Iroko, an enchanting drummer who diffused the sombre nature of the gathering with his powerful beats.