Super Eagles British-born defender William Ekong on Wednesday said he had started campaign to drew attention to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that affect more than 120 million Nigerians.
Ekong said that the partnership was with the END Fund and Common Goal; He appeared in a 48 seconds public service announcement where he calls on affected Nigerians to seek free treatment.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NTD were a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that affects more than 1.5 billion of the world’s most impoverished people, including 869 million children.
“They include intestinal worms, schistosomiasis (bilharzia), river blindness, trachoma, and lymphatic filariasis,” he said in the statement.
Ekong said: “I was hoping that every Nigerian will participate in the free treatment campaigns from several END Fund partners across the country.
“Like the rest of the team, I joined the common goal because I wanted to use football as a tool to make a difference. I’m proud that we’re partnering with the END Fund to challenge every Nigerian to tackle neglected tropical diseases or NTDs.
“Six hundred million people in Africa need treatment for these diseases with over 120 million living in Nigeria alone.
“Football is a powerful force in Nigeria and as a footballer and parent, I believe we should do everything we can to end these preventable and treatable diseases that stand between you and your goals.
“Next time a health worker comes to your school, community or place of worship make sure you take the free medicine that they are giving out,” he said.
Ekong advised that “Keep the ball rolling – spread the word to your family and friends and let’s be the generation to beat NTDs.
“The campaign will run on local radio and television stations during the months of June and July across the following states: Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Gombe, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
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“It will also feature on digital platforms nationwide as well and include targeted SMS messaging,” he said. (NAN)