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Advocate Spotlight: Abdullahi Hamza Hassan

Abdullahi Hamza Hassan coordinates our epidemic preparedness work in Kano state, Nigeria. Learn more about his work advocating for epidemic preparedness through the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s Prevent Epidemics program.

1. What drew you working as an advocate?

I considered myself a natural born advocate. Recalling my early days as a child at home, school or among my peers, I would always speak up to what I saw or felt was not right or how things can be done better. I have had the opportunity to work in the public sector in Nigeria and I have realized that even as a midlevel staff you can’t make desired changes to how things are being done because of the bureaucracy in public service

2. What accomplishment are you particularly proud of?

In Nigeria, it’s been a challenge to gather details and more precise data on HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, and HBV/HIV and HCV/HIV co-infections to guide effective and efficient programming and decision making. While working for Africa Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) as a Technical Advisor, Advocacy, Communication and Community Mobilization, on the Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) project, we conducted a survey that examined the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, HBV and HCV, assessed the coverage and impact of HIV services on the population level, and measured HIV-related risk behaviors using a nationally representative sample of persons aged 0-64 years.

3. How does your background most inform your work?

As a psychologist and a therapist, I am positioned to advocate for individual clients or groups with mental or health challenges in court of law. I can also act as an advocate of social and policy change against the damaging effects of individual, institution or society to policy makers.

4. What are you most excited about in your role with GHAI?

Seeing myself acting in a role that I consider my calling, by providing the needed support, technical direction and serving as a liaison between government and civil society groups advocating for increased and sustainable financing and legal framework for health security in Kano State, Nigeria, is what gives me the most excitement and joy in my life, and the crystallization of my career.

5. What is your message to public health advocates in Nigeria and around the world?

The advent of COVID-19 has exposed Nigeria as well as the larger global community to weaknesses in detecting, preventing or responding to public health emergencies, coupled with supply shocks in global supply chains as a result of border closure in many countries. Dwindling incomes and competition for limited resources has make life more difficult for quite a number of people across the globe.

Advocate! Let’s keep making case for better policies and programs that will make life easier for people around the globe. I believe there will be light at the end of the tunnel.