Rakiya – Fighting Diabetes in Northern Nigeria

This short documentary follows the experiences of Rakiya Kilgori, a teacher in Sokoto, Northern Nigeria, who has become an international public health advocate. Life in Sokoto is tough whichever way you look at it – it’s very poor, it’s on the southern edge of the Sahara, Boko Haram are still fighting a few hundred kilometres to the east – but even harder if you are female, as girls are often forced into marriage from the age of 9.

Rakiya got married at 16, as her father wanted her to get an education, but by her 30s she was very unwell, depressed and obese. She was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 twice, the first time 6 years before the second, but initially she had ignored the diagnosis, not understanding the implications.

Since her second diagnosis in 2010 Rakiya has transformed her life. She changed her diet and starting exercising, greatly improving her physical health. She started teaching at a local high school, empowering girls to continue their education, and even adopting a number into her own home. And she joined the local Diabetes Association to raise awareness about how to prevent diabetes and bring support to those who already have it. That work has brought Rakiya to the international stage, where she advocates for people experiencing non-communicable disease in developing countries and has become part of the Our Views, Our Voices campaign.

This film was made for the NCD Alliance, in October 2017.