Friday, November 30, 2012

Drogba, Eto’o, Pienaar, Heads of States, CAF, Others Unite Against Malaria

Coutersy IFEJ News
Drogba, Eto’o, and Pienaar Join Heads of State, CAF and Football Players Across Africa
to Unite Against Malaria in a New Health Campaign for the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations
Campaign Will Deliver Malaria Prevention and Treatment Messages Across the Continent

Johannesburg, South Africa, 30 November, 2012 – African football stars and heads of state will join the Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s United Against Malaria (UAM) campaign and pledge to distribute
life-saving malaria prevention and treatment messages throughout the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.  Football icons including Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, and Steven Pienaar, along with African Heads of State including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, will lend their voices to the cause, appearing in television spots, billboards and educational materials that will be distributed across Africa. Those Heads of State are members of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.
“We are thrilled to have malaria featured as a social cause of the 2013 Orange AFCON tournament,” said Hervé Verhoosel, Head of External Relations for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, at the press
conference in Johannesburg. “The strong partnership between United Against Malaria and the confederation of African Football (CAF) allows us to leverage the powerful platform of football to reach millions of  fans across Africa – where approximately 90% of global malaria deaths occur – with life-saving messages to help protect communities from this preventable and treatable disease.  The upcoming AFCON will build on the strong commitment and momentum of national federations and
their players from the 2010 FIFA World Cup and move us closer to making malaria a problem of the past. It is also a pleasure for us to have the presence and support of Mr. Kirsten Nematandani, President of
the South African Football Association, who is representing here today the 20 football federations supporting the campaign.”
“We, the South African Football Association, are proud to support the United Against Malaria Campaign and globally the Roll Back Malaria Partnership in order to save lives across the continent,” said Mr.
Kirsten Nematandani, President of the South African Football Association. “UAM is a great example of how football can help raise awareness to combat this killer disease.”
“Across the continent, football dominates the hearts and minds of children and parents alike. But, so does malaria – the cause of 174 million illnesses and nearly 600,000 deaths in African alone every
year,” said Samuel Eto’o, Cameroonian national team player and UAM champion. “We have united to utilize the power of football to fight malaria and we hope our fans will join us.”
Although preventable and treatable, malaria kills a child in Africa every 60 seconds and costs the continent an estimated minimum of US $12 billion in lost productivity and healthcare costs each year.
"I have been a victim of malaria and have witnessed first-hand the devastating effects it can have on individuals and families," said Didier Drogba, Cote d'Ivoire national team captain and UAM champion.
"We need malaria out of the game. Using the popularity of football to increase awareness of prevention and treatment methods will go a long way in the fight to show malaria the red card.”
"Malaria affects nearly everyone on the continent of Africa, including footballers and government leaders. With all eyes on the tournament and its participants, CAF and UAM are committed to utilizing this platform to communicate important messaging to end deaths from this devastating disease," said Mr. Hicham El Amrani, Secretary-General of CAF.
"When we all fight malaria together, we build stronger nations and save lives," said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. "As a football fan myself, I understand the game's power and popularity. We
have the tools to win against malaria and I urge others to join us in the fight."
In Nigeria, Malawi, Benin, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and other countries, malaria messages will be shared using football players, favorite teams and sports programs. Research has shown that audiences
retain and act on these messages more often when delivered by their football heroes. In those countries, billboards, sports journals, tournament programs will complement the PSAs on air to ensure the UAM campaign messages reach every household. In Cote d'Ivoire, images of Drogba and his teammates Kolo Toure, Gervinho and Salomon Kalou attract readers to malaria educational materials, and create excitement about ridding this West African country of the burden of malaria. The UAM campaign has broken language barriers by having PSAs recorded by football stars in over 18 African languages since the campaign was launched in 2009.
"I am honored to be a champion for this cause," said Steven Pienaar, UAM champion and former South African captain. "It is unacceptable that malaria kills one child in Africa every minute. We can take such
simple steps to prevent and treat this disease. United we can beat malaria."


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