Fighting Gender Inequality and Diabetes
Rakiya Kilgori's story is one in a series of micro-docs I made (all about 2 minutes long) from August to October 2017. Each one focuses on a person who developed a non-communicable disease (NCD) and became an advocate for better health care and education to stop the NCD epidemic happening around the globe.
I headed to Sokoto in Northern Nigeria at the start of October, and was definitely taken aback. It was my first time in Nigeria, more or less my first time in Africa (I don't think my one night in Morocco counts), and the desert, the heat, the poverty, the religion, it was overwhelming. It seemed a hard, hard place to live. And as I learnt more it became clear that it was especially hard for women and girls, and those who got sick.
But I met Rakiya, and the Diabetes Association of Nigeria, Sokoto Chapter, and they were doing a lot of good work, with almost no funding or resources. They were heading out to underserved communities, running workshops on healthy lifestyles and providing free medical check-ups and medicines.
Years before Rakiya had developed Diabetes Type 2 after developing depression and becoming obese, but she had taken great steps to improve her own health and the health of her community.
Her work had been noticed by the international health advocacy community and last year she visited several international conferences to talk about her personal experiences and the work her association was undertaking. I heard recently her health has deteriorated, and I hope she makes a full recovery.
I also have to say a special thank you to her son Hussain, who took me everywhere I needed to go in Sokoto and is a really lovely human-being.