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Without doubt, football is the most popular sport on earth with footballers gaining global recognition for what they are capable of doing with the round leather object. Most football players are seen as role models due to their celebrity status and great show of athleticism while doing their job.

However, the off-field activities of some footballers equally earn them applause, these actions include charity donations and leading campaigns in the fight against diseases or natural disasters confronting the globe. Super Eagles defender, William Troost-Ekong, is great example of footballers who have used their influence to promote campaigns against challenges confronting the globe.

Campaigning For A Change

Troost-Ekong, who plies his trade with Italian outfit Udinese FC, has made public his desire to promote the campaign against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).The Nigerian centre back, currently with the Nigerian national team at the ongoing African Cup Of Nations in Egypt (Ekong’s maiden appearance), partners with END Fund and Common Goal for the project, and is hoping Nigerians will participate in the free treatment campaigns from several END Fund partners across the West African country.

Like the rest of the team, I joined 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….600 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. So the 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. Keep the ball rolling – spread the word to your family and friends and let’s be the generation to beat NTDs

William Troost Ekong

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected tropical diseases which are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions with notable examples as leprosy, guinea worm, trachoma, Buruli ulcer, intestinal worms, river blindness, schistosomiasis, and lymphatic filariasis affects 149 countries globally. NTDs affect more than one billion people with 869 million children and costs developing economies billions of dollars annually. Poor people that live in areas with bad sanitation are more likely to suffer these diseases/infections. Today, over 120 million Nigerians are confronted with these health challenges putting the rural population at greater risk.

Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, Director and National Coordinator of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Elimination Programme, Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria, expressed delight at Troost-Ekong’s decision to join the initiative. He went further to emphasize that the project is an important opportunity to bring attention to NTDs in Nigeria.

We are very delighted to have William join the Federal Ministry of Health and our partners in Nigeria’s fight against neglected tropical diseases, we hope that this campaign helps to highlight the importance of the fight against NTDs in Nigeria and across the continent.

Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike

The campaign against NTDs in Nigeria will run between the months of June and July 2019. The program will be active in six states of Akwa Ibom, Gombe, Ondo, Osun, Bauchi, Ekiti, and Abuja (the Federal Capital Territory). Media platforms like radio channels and TV stations will run the program. Also, digital platforms, as well as targeted SMS messages, are part of mediums used to promote the campaign.


Featured image source: Sports Village Square

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This article was first published on 28th June 2019


I am a Lion, I love to hit heights that seem impossible so I can motivate others and prove doubters wrong. For me, impossible is nothing. I'm open to learning and I love to read, travel and meet new faces.

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