Spreading the word to keep people healthy
Common Goal members and The END Fund promote best health practices to help tackle COVID-19 across Africa.
Common Goal members William Troost-Ekong, Johanna Omolo, Gideon Mensah, Onome Ebi, and Maxwell Woledzi are the first players to back an initiative spearheaded by the End Fund, which seeks to amplify the messaging of good health practices to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in the African region.
The players have released videos demonstrating and advocating for proper hand-washing practices to tackle the spread of coronavirus. Each of them in turn emphasised the importance of teamwork and that everyone has a role to play in beating COVID-19.
Udinese and Nigeria defender Troost-Ekong said: “We are all well aware that COVID-19 is affecting us in all different ways, shapes and forms. I would love for everyone to play their part to make sure that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and trying not to touch your face. Through teamwork, we’re going to be able to beat this COVID-19, so stay strong guys and try and do your bit.”
Addressing his followers, Kenyan international Johanna Omolo, who plays for Cercle Brugge in Belgium, echoed Troost-Ekong’s appeal: “The coronavirus outbreak is affecting each and every one of us in so many ways than you can imagine. Take care of your health and others by washing your hands regularly.”
Nigerian Super Falcon Onome Ebi took to social media sporting a T-Shirt with a hand-written message of support during the crisis: “I am encouraging you to stay fit and healthy during these hard times, together we stand.” She went on to nominate her fellow professionals to share their own messages.
The players hope that by using their platform to reach a wide audience, the message will trickle down to every level of society, especially the younger generation. Troost-Ekong, Omolo, Mensah, Ebi, and Woledzi are encouraging other professionals to back the initiative, and further spread the word among fans across the continent.
While the END Fund ordinarily works towards the mission of ending neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), the private philanthropic initiative launched the #HealthyAtHome campaign health prevention tips overlap with the current coronavirus outbreak. Handwashing is essential to prevent both the coronavirus and NTDs.
"After the success of our campaign in Nigeria working with William Troost-Ekong to raise awareness of NTDs, we were excited to work with Common Goal to help add value to the COVID-19 response in Africa," said Elisa Baring, Senior Director of Public Affairs at the End Fund.
"Football players have the ability to reach people in a way that engages and inspires. The END Fund looks forward to continuing our long-term work with Common Goal on NTDs as we believe sport is a universal language that can bring about lasting change."
Following a recommendation by the World Health Organization in April, the END Fund's partners paused the majority of activities related to NTDs programmes – such as community- and school-based mass drug administrations, training for health care workers and community-based surveys.
Though unable to carry out its programmes as usual, the END Fund recognised that it has a unique role to play in leveraging its network and resources to continue to help protect the vulnerable communities it serves during these extraordinary times.
The END Fund is hoping that the widespread handwashing campaign can promote healthier practices and ultimately save lives across Africa and beyond.
In addition to the campaign, the organisation is providing emergency water, hygiene and sanitation services with a dual benefit of NTD prevention.
Common Goal’s connection to the END Fund harks back to an alliance formed in 2018 to support the initiative’s work to end neglected tropical diseases in Nigeria and Rwanda, which William Troost-Ekong has also been supporting through his membership of Common Goal. Click here to read an interview with the Nigerian International in which he shared his motivation for backing the project.
Common Goal and the END Fund will continue working together long-term and, once the coronavirus crisis has eased, refocus efforts on ending NTDs.