Perhaps a little off topic from our usual but a very worthy cause.
The CDC Foundation, actor Idris Elba and a global team of African soccer stars, international health organizations and corporations today announced the launch of Africa United, a global health communications campaign aimed at preventing the spread of Ebola in West Africa.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, infecting nearly 16,000 people with more than 5,600 deaths to date. While the spread of Ebola is a threat to people, health systems and economies around the globe, West African communities in particular are being crippled by the disease as a result of already-strained healthcare systems, mistrust of healthcare workers and fear and stigmatization of those infected.
“For me the battle against Ebola is a personal one. To see those amazing countries in West Africa where my father grew up and my parents married being ravaged by this disease is painful and horrific,” said Idris Elba, actor and the creative force behind the development of the campaign public service announcements. “Imagine having to sit down and tell your family that you were going to fight this disease. That conversation is happening across West Africa and around the world every day. I am in awe of the bravery of these health workers, who put their lives at risk day in and out to stop the spread of this terrible disease. My hope is that, in some small way, through the development of these PSAs and the creation of the Africa United campaign, we can ensure that these workers get the support they need and that health messages are delivered to people on the ground to help them in their fight. #wevegotyourback. We will support you.”
Elba has rallied a group of soccer stars, including Yaya Touré (Ivorian), Carlton Cole (Nigerian and Sierra Leonean descent), Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone-born), Patrick Viera (Senegal-born), Fabrice Muamba (Democratic Republic of Congo-born) and Andros Townsend, to share this message of solidarity with healthcare workers in a new public service announcement titled “We’ve Got Your Back.” In the video, the players acknowledge that, although fans regard them as heroes, healthcare workers tackling Ebola are the true heroes. Each player wears the name of a healthcare worker on his back as a symbol of respect for “the world’s most important team.” The PSA will be featured during the Official Draw for the 2015 OrangeTM Africa Cup of Nations in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on December 3, through a partnership with Africa United partner, the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
To further leverage the power of soccer to reach Africans, Africa United will distribute FIFA and CAF’s ‘11 Against Ebola’ messages through Africa United partners.
“I wanted to support this campaign for so many reasons. I could not sit back without doing something to help fight Ebola. It is important we don’t treat this as something we just discuss with work colleagues or simply follow on the news for updates – instead our focus should be to do something,” said Yaya Touré, Ivorian professional football (soccer) player. “I also wanted to get involved with this campaign as it pays tribute to the many, many African heroes who are in the villages, towns and cities using their skills, resourcefulness and intelligence to battle Ebola. Those people on the front line are often forgotten. African mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters are doing everything they can to fight Ebola – we have to support them. #WeveGotYourBack”
Visit http://www.WeAreAfricaUnited.org to join the campaign by sharing educational materials or donating to support the life-saving work taking place in West Africa.