Africa: Queen Of Hearts Project Campaign to Educate Communities on Non-Communicable Diseases
By Iyaya Kevin
Queen of Heart Project Campaign, which kicked off early this year, was officially launched by Lolani Kalu, a senior reporter at Kenya’s Nation Media Group on Monday 29 at Kivuli Centre-Koinonia Community, Kabiria in Dagoretti South constituency, Nairobi.
The initiative by Kalu, and which has received massive support from first ladies from the 47 counties across Kenya, intends to raise Ksh 1billion to provide health care for people suffering from non-communicable diseases especially heart related ailments by building health facilities, create public awareness about lifestyle diseases through fashion and modeling as art and culture.
Mr. Kalu has partnered with different cooperates and other organizations such as The One Love Society, Beauty Point College among others to sponsor the campaign that has had recruitment events in all the 47 counties, with each county being represented by a model who will be face of the project in their respective areas, to build health facilities.
“The queens [models] representing this counties have either been directly or indirectly been victims to heart, ailments, cancer, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases and are here to help raise funds to build at least on facility in their respective counties, which will cost approximately Ksh 40million, Kalu said. “The remaining sum will be used to facilitate patient’s access the treatment at health centres across the country.”
He also said the campaign will start by catering for 1000 patients with heart problems, whose medical care will be taken care of by the Queen foundation.
Kalu was accompanied by his extended family, as he emphasized the need to encourage eating of traditional foods that are low on cholesterol and very nutritious.
Strategic Planner for Queen Foundation, Benjamin Gakuru said: the project is registered through a trust fund to increase, accountability, credibility and efficiency of the project.
“This campaign will serve to bring and improve health services to the people at the grass roots instead of them going to major cities for treatment and checkups, while engaging them in discussions on how to detect heart abnormalities at an early state,”“Abdihafid Yusuf, Queen Foundation official. “In this fight, healthy diet and nutrition’s are key in winning.”
Director of The One Love Society-a live music group and a music director for Kijani kibichi Band, Isaac Mongeli said the when Lolani approached his organization in 2014, he saw an opportunity to give back to his community through arts and culture; as his group offers entertainment aspect and technical support during the campaign.
The launch was graced by several county first ladies and representatives-with great music performances from Kijani Kibichi Band, Nafsi Africa and other local artists with a special act from the spectacular mellow voiced Masala ranging from inspiration Reggae genre to acoustic rhythm and blues to the applause and dance from those in attendance.
The queens took to the stage, to show case their beauty and talent, and what their plans are in regards to pushing the agenda of the day; the campaign.
Queen of Wajir County, Ikram Abdirizak said she joined the cause to help in empowering women in her Somali community in Northeastern Kenya, by giving them a platform to speak their opinions without fear and take charge of development issues in their counties especially heart and maternal health.
“Where I come from, we women are there just to be seen and not to be heard, and this has to stop now or else people in Wajir and its environs will remain as complainers of being marginalized,” she said.
According George Njuguna, a programme manager at Kivuli Centre, the event planner chose the centre to host the launch due to its strategic location and involvement with the surrounding communities as a community based non-governmental organization supporting different initiatives such as health drive in the area.
The project which started early this year is planned to run for a year and if possible longer so as to create more platforms to educate communities across Africa on non-communicable disease, importance of good diet and nutrition in order to reduce and control the menace of modern lifestyle diseases.