A day in the life of Odelana Olabanji Oladedele

Biomedical Scientist and IAS Member from Nigeria

I am a Biomedical Scientist working in HIV advocacy programmes tailored to secondary schools.

I have always been interested in science and research and I wanted my job to have a positive impact on my community. For these reasons, I enrolled in several courses with the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) Global Health, which includes HIV/AIDS, TB, HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation in Research, Neonatal Sepsis, Malaria in Pregnancy, Mother-to-Child transmission, to mention a few.

My major aim is to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS in Schools within rural communities.

I also work in one of the ACTION sites of Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) located in a rural community called Sabon-layi, Mangu Local government in Plateau State of Nigeria.

My daily experience with HIV positive patients has helped me to understand that many of them became infected as a result of ignorance.

Having gone through training on peer education, I decided to run peer education programmes in schools to educate teenagers and youths on HIV/AIDS and other related infections.

Surprisingly, I have been able to reach more than a thousand students from different schools, who, in turn, shared information with their colleagues on how to prevent the spread of HIV in their community. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there is still a need to further reach out to more communities, as the rate of transmission of HIV is extremely high in those areas.

I will be finishing my work with ACTION in February 2012, and following this I hope to work in local and international organizations in advocacy programmes addressed to the youth.