An Interview With The Founder Of Impact Nutrition Africa, Folakemi Jolaoso
Africa boasts of many things: seas, rivers, solid minerals, human power, climate, culture, tradition, tourism and so on. Many times, and quite true indeed, the media has presented the other side of Africa to the rest of us. So it is not strange to see words like poverty, corruption, hunger, disease, deaths, and more deaths from tribalism, etc, lingering on pages describing Africa to the rest of the world. At one time or the other, the Western world, not empty of organizations and philanthropists, have come to the rescue of the African clouded with these challenges. One of such deadly challenges (or call them problems) is Africa’s Health! No wonder top journals publish a lot of articles on addressing health challenges some of which are not limited to; childhood obesity, dietary intake, eating disorder, fatigue disorder, food intolerance, iodine deficiency disorder, malnutrition, nutrient deficiencies, nutrition cancer, nutritional epidemiology, obesity prevention, public health nutrition and vitamin B12 deficiency. It is the case that “while acknowledging that Africa confronts the world’s most dramatic public health crisis, the report [given by WHO in her bulletin, https://www.who.int/bulletin/africanhealth/en/] offers hope that over time the region can address the health challenges it faces, given sufficient international support. One such hope in person, is Folakemi Jolaoso, and her amazing team at Impact Nutrition Africa.
Refreshingly, on Sunday 2nd of June, 2019, the Ray of Thought Team, represented by one of her authors, David Francis, in Abuja, had an interview with Folakemi Jolaoso. Folakemi is a passionate nutritionist and founder of Impact Nutrition Africa.
Her devoted commitment to Nutrition and Public Health has seen notable achievements. She led a team, under the HELP Fellowship to produce a baby cereal that is affordable and nutritious for low to middle-income earners.
She has won several notable awards, few of which are: De-United Indomie Scholarship Award; 2017 UTC Annual Prize; Best Graduating Student from the Department of Human Nutrition and Faculty of Public Health, the University of Ibadan.
Folakemi isn’t resting on her oars. She keeps updating her knowledge by taking online courses in Nutrition and Public Health especially from Stanford University and John Hopkins University.
Folakemi is also a fiction writer who believes stories can shape the individual, and thus, the society. She blogs at www.folakemijay.blog. Folakemi Jolaoso was a guest for this interview with the Ray of Thought. Below is an excerpt of this interview:
ROT: Tell us about yourself
My name is Folakemi Jolaoso. I’m the Founder of Impact Nutrition Africa (INA). I studied Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the Faculty of Public Health from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. I was the Clerk, then the interim Speaker of the Legislative Arm of her University. As interim speaker, I was a part of the electoral body that birthed the first female President in the Faculty of Public Health. I nurture the dream of working with and for International organizations interested in addressing Public Health Nutrition/Malnutrition, Human Nutrition Lab Analysis, and Dietetics.
ROT: Why Impact Nutrition?
I realized that there have been a lot of unqualified nutritionists in the public today. They seem to make a lot of money and connections from ignorant, yet vulnerable persons in exchange for the right information on issues of health, even on social media. For this reason, the public have been gravely misinformed. So I discovered that at the University of Ibadan and beyond, there are qualified nutritionists who can do better and work better as a team. The masses need the right education from the right set of people who are passionate about public health and nutrition. So we got a team together to enable the public rely on Impact Nutrition Africa (INA). At INA, we seek to make ideas tangible enough to solve Public Health Nutrition in Africa. It is no longer News that in Nigeria alone, about 13 million persons die of hunger every year. The same is true for many other African Nations. The following core team members make up Impact Nutrition Africa (you can check them in our website, www.impactnutritionafrica.org):
- Chima-Omumajuru Adaeze (Dietician).
- Adejoke Adewusi, Omilana Timileyin, Folakemi Jolaoso, Agi Oka Grace, Gafari Datundun, Enwelum Nkeiruka (Nutritionists).
- Fadodun Oluwadamilola, Akoni Oluwademilade (Nurses).
- Ebi Benjamin (Medical doctor).
- Awotunde Oluwatolami (Psychologist) and
- Ogumodede Joseph (Lawyer).
ROT: Tell us about the goals and growth of Impact Nutrition in Nigeria and Africa at large.
INA in Nigeria is just 8 months old, but we have built and are building a formidable platform where we hope to provide innovations on how to make an organization’s interventions work. Impact Nutrition Africa is about educating the masses, providing consultation on a macro and micro scale as well as interventions in public health challenges, etc. Our platform nonetheless has the passion and the personae but not the funds as we would have want to have. Non-Governmental Organizations like INA work with experience and contact, sadly we are still but in the process. Last year December, INA had a sensitive intervention for lactating mothers who were educated at a point. We must know that exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria is quite poor (17%). Another intervention made by INA is to continuously educate the public on the dangers of constant exposure to dirt which causes environmental enteropathy. At the end of the day, with our passionate team of nutritionists, nurses, doctors, psychologists, a lawyer, and myself the Founder, INA is on the quest to be of relevance to the public with regards to healthy living and consultations.
ROT: Thank you so much for granting us this interview, we appreciate the time you have given to it.
Thanks a lot for having me. It has been a pleasure. I’m grateful to the team (ROT) and for the
opportunity to share the future of Impact Nutrition Africa with everyone. Thank you!