It has been a year since FIFA’s 11 against Ebola campaign , the organisation and some soccer icons including Didier Drogba drove an initiative to spread awareness of the disease.
The awareness campaign included different cautionary messages to help those in affected areas in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia to counter the virus through being more cautious. With 7 cases reported in the past month so far, it is safe to say that the continental an global response including this initiative have collectively reduced the impact of the epidemic.
Through the success of their campaign, FIFA has extended their 11 against Ebola campaign to FIFA 11 for health in the West African region. This past week, a FIFA delegation led by Chief Medical Officer Jiří Dvořák and Cameroonian soccer icon Samuel Eto’o visited Sierra Leone and Ghana for the progress of their Ebola campaign, and to improve children’s knowledge and attitudes towards keeping healthy.
With this new FIFA 11 for Health longer term campaign in Ghana and Sierra Leone, Eto’o interacted with children in local schools in Ghana, and children in schools and orphanages across Freetown, Sierra Leone.
As part of the FIFA 11 for Health programme, Eto’o will help realizing the campaigns mandate, being to harness the power of football and scientific research to inspire girls and boys to lead healthy lifestyles. Also, to boost knowledge on the children’s attitudes surrounding good health, and diseases and conditions such as HIV, Malaria, obesity and hypertension, among others.
Speaking from his own life story, Eto’o believes the power of sport – particularly football – can makes in a child’s life. “Health is the most important thing in life, with health and a strong dream you can achieve anything in life, “ He said. “Football has an important role to play in educating young girls and boys to live a healthy lifestyle.” He added, citing that he was proud to see what ‘his brothers’ have achieved in combating the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.