UN Programme Puts Spotlight On Sports
UN Programme Puts Spotlight On Sports To Fight Malaria In Tanzania
New York, May 8 2006
Highlighting Tanzania’s innovative use of football to inform people of ways to prevent malaria, the country’s biggest child killer, the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace has organized a visit for journalists in cooperation with other UN units and the National Association of Black Journalists.
“We are mobilizing the power of sport and culture to accelerate the campaign against malaria,” said Djibril Diallo, Director of the New York section of the UN initiative, who called sport “the world’s most powerful communications tool.”
The Association dedicated the trip to the memory of Akilah Amapindi, a student member who died during its convention in Atlanta last year as a result of contracting malaria on a trip to Africa.
Malaria is the leading cause of death in Tanzania, with 14 to 19 million cases afflicting the country’s 37 million people each year and claiming 100,000 lives.
The Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports of Tanzania began organizing soccer matches in rural areas last year to alert fans about the need to use insecticide-treated bed nets through public address announcements, leaflets and banners at the games.
The competitions are held at the village, ward and division level, with the winning teams receiving jerseys and soccer balls carrying anti-malaria messages.