The President of the Ghana Football Association, (GFA) Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi has said that his outfit will act as an advocacy group in the fight against the eradication of Malaria in Ghana.
Mr Nyantakyi said the GFA has already adopted the Malaria disease as a special area of attention at a major stakeholders meeting in Accra early this year, hence the partnership with the John Hopkins University (JHU), the Ministry of Health, the Ghana National Malaria Control Programme and other stakeholders will strengthen their determination to fight Malaria in the country.
He said football is an effective tool for the dissemination of information on Malaria among the people and that the GFA will therefore make members of the senior national team, the Black Stars available for the campaign.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting aimed at commencing the campaign against Malaria in the country, under the theme “United against Malaria (UAM)” Mr Nyantakyi said his outfit has numerous branding opportunities for the campaign.
The GFA President said the Association will use other avenues such as the National Premier League, Division One League, Women Football Teams as well as the various supporters’ groups in the country for the campaign in the fight against malaria.
He contended that malaria is major health aspect to the development of the country since thousands of people die from it every year, adding that “It has even been established that, malaria is more deadly that HIV/AIDS, taking into consideration the speed at which people die from it.”
Mr Emmanuel Fiagbey, Country Director of the John Hopkins University (JHU) in a presentation to the stakeholders, said the fight against malaria cannot be limited to the doorsteps of the government and the ministry alone but it demands collaborative efforts of all stakeholders.
He said that the decision of his outfit to use football in the fight against malaria was based on the fact that the sport has become very popular and an effective tool for promotion of the campaign.
According to Mr Fiagbey, whilst the nation sets its target on qualifying and winning the World Cup, the JHU and other stakeholders are keen on using the 2010 World Cup as the platform for the fight against malaria in the country.
He said the Black Stars match against the Eagles of Mali, will be used as starting point in the campaign and urged all stakeholders to ensure active participation of all stakeholders.
Mr Fiagbey said the JHU is looking forward to using the Black Stars of Ghana and other key players of the team as well as old footballers as Ambassadors in the campaign, adding that the likes of Elephants of Cote d’Voire, Barcelona and other high profile personalities and organization are hooked up to the campaign.
The workshop was attended by major stakeholders in sports and the health sector.
They included the National Sports Council (NSC), Ghana Football Association (GFA), Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA), Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) and Retired National Football Association (RENFAG).
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