Yawe Peter is a 500 level medical student at the University of Jos, Nigeria. His dream to be Nigeria’s health minister led him to join CSAAE’s Emerging African Leaders Program (ELP). ELP prepares African youths for influential leadership positions critical to development especially political, media, judicial, business and religious leadership. The aim is to raise a new generation of leaders imbued with the morals and skill set necessary to navigate Africa out of poverty and underdevelopment.
A core part of ELP training is to challenge future leaders to seek solutions to community problems. Our future health minister has identified the prevalence of hepatitis in Nigeria is a serious community problem and has initiated a community development project known as: “Healthy Liver Initiative” to deal with it. CSAAE is providing technical and financial support to Yawe as he drives this project.
In this interview, you can learn more about the amazing ideas Peter has on the healthy living of youths in Nigeria.
Hello, can we meet you?
My name is Peter Yawe, first of four siblings born to Mr and Mrs John Yawe. I hail from Konshisha local government of Benue state, Nigeria. I am currently a 5th year medical student of the University of Jos in Plateau State, Nigeria.
Great. What inspired Healthy Liver Initiative?
Alright. Two things inspired my work. In 2015, I watched life leave the body of my dearest cousin Dorothy. I felt her hands turn from warm to cold. Dorothy died of a Terminal liver disease. She was only 21 years old. This could have been prevented or even curtailed if it was discovered early. I believe more people don’t have to loose their dear cousins to things that can be prevented. The leaders of tomorrow shouldn’t die for causes that can be prevented today. In addition, there is a high prevalence of viral Hepatitis in Nigeria. This is a common pathway to terminal liver diseases.
CSAAE gave me a platform to do something I am passionate about.
Oh. That’s sad. Please tell us what you have been able to make out of this tragic story
Well, it is out of this sad experience Healthy Liver Initiative was born. Healthy Liver Initiative is my community development Project that aims to prevent liver diseases and promote liver health. I have started with my immediate environment, Plateau state and with time through out Nigeria.
It’s great when we create such life changing opportunities out of tragedies. So how has HLI been working to bring this knowledge closer to people?
HLI is using a public health approach. By this i mean emphasis is on prevention and promotion of health.
HLI is promoting accurate knowledge/information about Hepatitis and other liver diseases through a weekly radio program in Jos. Arrangements are currently made to expand this to other states within Nigeria. In addition, HLI also organizes Community based outreaches where we sensitize people on this topics, conduct free Hepatitis tests and vaccinations occasionally. Also, we refer clients as indicated to health institutions for expert management. Currently HLI is building an Electronic App for Android devices to help people within the state read about liver diseases and also aid them locate a Doctor.
Amazing! So, as a wrap-up, what can you say to the youths out there about Hepatitis and how they can attend to it?
Alright. To everyone young person out there. Viral Hepatitis specifically Hepatitis B and C is very preventable and can be curtailed if picked early. Youths should avoid habits like Alcohol ingestion and smoking which are detrimental to their liver health and they should eat right and exercise. Most importantly , let’s all get tested and vaccinated. It’s very cheap and easy. Treatment modalities are available therefore people should seek for medical help as soon as possible. Thank you
ENL Ajiboye Jesutooni-Emmanuel
To support Yawe Peter’s Project, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org