Peter Azolibe

Ashoka Fellow
Isuofia, Nigeria
Fellow Since 2003


This profile was prepared when Peter Azolibe was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Peter believes that sickle cell anemia, a genetic disease, can be prevented and eventually eradicated if information on the disease is provided to people before they choose life partners. While information on sickle cell anemia was generally available in Nigeria in the 1970s, there has been little concerted effort over the last two decades to build public awareness. Peter has created a model for reducing the prevalence of preventable genetic diseases by comprehensively educating people about sickle cell anemia, testing them for the disease, and making them aware of the risk of sickle cell offspring when individuals with particular genotypes have children. While most health prevention programs only disseminate information, hoping that people will then act on their own, Peter combines both information and testing. With this approach, people in the remote rural communities where he works do not have to travel long distances to hospitals or clinics to undergo the tests.
Peter also provides those tested with a small card indicating their blood group and type. These cards, which are printed with their owners' photos and names, have proved useful in the case of accidents and other emergencies. Furthermore, for many rural dwellers, this card is their only form of identification and has helped them in dealing with law enforcement agents.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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