Cameroon's Indomitable Lions venerable defender and player for Tottenham in the English soccer league, Benoit Assou Ekotto administered the 250millionth Mectizan drug in Bali on Monday July 8, 2013 to six-year old Nabila and other members of her family.
He was participating in an initiative to eradicate river blindness or Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis undertaken by the government of Cameroon in partnership with Sight Savers, a London-based organisation, through the distribution of the Mectizan drug to the entire population of Cameroon since 1987. Out of the 13 African countries in which Mectizan is being distributed, Cameroon was chosen to play host to the celebration and administration of the 250millionth Mectizan treatment in 2013. Bali Subdivision in the North West Region was the venue.
During the event in Bali, the Secretary General to the North West Governor's Office, Absalom Monono Woloa thanked Sight Savers for the offer. He said River Blindness, Elephantiasis, Filariasis are all common in Cameroon and can all be contained by the consumption of Mectizan. He therefore called on Sight Savers and other international bodies not to relent their efforts to help Cameroon in the eradication of these diseases.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Minister of Public Health, Dr Nnomzo'o Etienne, said in Cameroon, Mectizan is distributed every year and 2013 marks 26 years that the drug has been distributed. He acknowledged that the prevalence rate of river blindness has been on the decrease and thus called on all Cameroonians to take Mectizan. He announced that the distribution is going on and will last till the end of July.
For the Indomitable lion, Benoit Assou Ekotto, it was a great moment for him to be chosen as the icon to give the 250millionth Mectizan. He remained optimistic that in some years to come, the diseases will be eradicated. On his part, the country director of Sight Savers Cameroon, Dr Oye Joseph, said it is a continuous fight, adding that one of the main objectives of his organisation is to see that River Blindness is eradicated completely from the various African Countries that they have been working in.