Graduates join the fight against malaria in Africa

A trio of graduates from the University of Leeds have been helping to fight the battle against malaria in Africa.

Lily Adams, Ambika Barakina and Olivia Tipping have graduated from the School of Biomedical Sciences this summer.

As part of their studies, they collaborated with students in Nigeria to co-create evidence-driven, sustainable solutions to the challenge of malaria in Africa.

The team worked alongside students from the National Open University of Nigeria to understand the scale of the problem and the barriers preventing progress.

Their work clinched second prize at the 2023 Student Sustainability Research Conference (SSRC), which took place earlier this year at Parkinson Court in the University of Leeds.

In Nigeria, 20% of deaths in children under five years of age were caused by malaria according to a 2020 report from the World Health Organisation and the Maternal Child Epidemiology Estimation group (MCEE).

Olivia said: “For our final year capstone research project, we were challenged to devise an innovative and sustainable solution for a real-world problem.

“The issue of malaria in Africa continues to be a major concern. There is a huge population, many of whom face poverty. Our work explored education on the causes of malaria and how to improve limited access to healthcare, especially in rural communities.

“The experience of working with people internationally expanded our global awareness of public health challenges and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We have stayed in touch and are looking at ways in which we can carry on working together.”

The conference, held in March, was open to students from 12 higher education institutions across Yorkshire. Lily, Ambika and Olivia earned plaudits from attendees for their research presentation ‘A Global North and South Partnership: Finding Sustainable Solutions to Malaria in Nigeria’.

Post-graduation, Olivia is now exploring ways to use her degree to address public health challenges. “The whole experience has opened my mind to public health and I am looking into projects that seek to overcome such challenges,” she said.

Dr Charlotte Haigh, Director of Student Education in the School of Biomedical Sciences, said: “Through their research, students are providing inspirational and important contributions to the major public health and sustainability challenges of our time. The conference enabled students to share, learn and be inspired by each other.”

As well as 35 presentations from students, the conference included panel events, student-run workshops and a poster exhibition in Parkinson Court.

Further information

For further information, contact Richard Abbott in the University of Leeds press office.

Photo credit: Olivia Tipping