Africa: Malaria Unites Soccer Chiefs

African Football leaders have agreed to back the United Against Malaria (UAM) campaign to accelerate the fight against the malaria disease.

Speaking at a Cecafa-Uam dinner gala at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel recently, Uganda's Minister of State for Health (Primary Care), Sarah Kataike committed herself to strengthening public and private sector partnership in Uganda for malaria control.

The President of CAF, Issa Hayatou said that the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa will be an important moment in the history of football.

It will also be the moment when football will contribute to reducing the burden of malaria on the African continent.

The union of the UAM campaign and CAF will mean children across Africa will be able to access anti-malaria messages.

According to Hayatou, football is one of the most popular sports in Africa and UAM is proud to be associated and working closely with Caf and Cecafa to disseminate malaria prevention and treatment messages.

The Cecafa boss Leodegar Tenga said, "I am positive our success on the football field has been severely held back by malaria. More importantly, though, is the impact malaria has on our friends and families."

Malaria, a wholly preventable and treatable disease, kills 655,000 people worldwide every year, mostly in Africa. The emergence of drug-resistant malaria is a serious threat to regional and global efforts to combat this public health challenge.

In the opening ceremony, Cecafa paid tribute through a minute's silence in honour of a South Sudan player Luis William who succumbed to malaria as he prepared for the Cecafa tournament.

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