When I say “Monsoons”, for a fact it brings a smile as well a sense of anxiousness to your face. Besides enjoying the rain and delicacies made in monsoon season, one con to the season is it comes with the emergence of various mosquito-borne diseases which is rapidly spread by means of mosquito used as a vector. Monsoon season provides favorable conditions for the mosquitoes to breed which leads to their proliferation and spread of the disease. One such mosquito-borne disease is ‘Malaria’. Each one you might be familiar with the disease as none could keep away from the wrath of the disease. Government has been trying to spread awareness about the prevention of the disease by several means but hasn’t been so far successful in lowering down the rates. This reflects their efforts put in the cause.
Kritika Singh, a bioengineering student at the Northeastern University went through a situation at a boarding school in Hissar, India where Malaria was once common. She was there to give a presentation, informing the students about the importance of prevention against the disease which the school’s teachers had been unsuccessful in getting across. However, the students grumbled about the nasty malaria pills and stuffy bed nets. Singh was frustrated but then turned off her power point and gave it a try again. This time the students listened.
“As I talked to them like a peer and shared their grief, they become more interested,” she says. “We spoke about the simple steps the girls could talk to help themselves.”
This encounter made Kritika realize the power of peer-to-peer advocacy. According to Singh the disease is easily preventable in India but persists because of a lack of political will to eradicate it. In 2014 she started a nonprofit, Malaria Free World, to promote research and education about the epidemic. In addition, with the help from faculty advisors, in 2017 she founded Northeastern’s Global Health Initiative, a student-led conference that seeks to inspire their peers to care about health around the world. Singh has been thereby, named a Truman Scholar. The scholarship is a national award and the premiere fellowship in the U.S. for people who are pursuing careers as public service leaders. Last year, Singh received the Goldwater Scholarship and she aspires to work with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington, D.C., in order to help shape public health policy.
There is an ardent need of people like Singh, who would consider it as their personal problem and fight against it.