Sport is key to malaria fight

To mark World Malaria Day last week, Dr John Kabuno, from Zambia, shares his views on how sport can play a crucial role in enhancing and strengthening the fight against malaria.
Football is the perfect example
Sport is played in different types of environments and football as the world’s most popular sport is a perfect example. Football is played and watched by millions of people worldover and it can be the best form of media to disseminate information.

Investing in prevention: sport as the driving source
The fight against malaria lies in the prevention and not the curative part and this is the reason why sport must not be left out in the fight against malaria. A few days ago, the world commemorated the World Malaria Day under the theme: Sustain gains, save lives: Invest In malaria.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has come up with the three T’s i.e. test, treat and track. If we have to invest in Malaria programmes, sport must be used consistently as a driving force in disseminating Malaria information. More resources have to be pushed into school sports programmes, soccer academies, and sport to be promoted at community level. It is only when the community which so much loves sport will be able to have equal access to information regarding malaria.

Africa Cup of Nations
These messages of malaria prevention can be translated by getting the same personalities promoting commerical products can make adverts on malaria programmes. Malaria is not only a programme for the Ministry of Health but must be embraced as a programme for all. It is from this background that the strategy for malaria fight has to include sport to help and make the crusade against a malaria-free world by the year 2015 a reality.

The power of sport should not be underestimated. It must be given the seriousness it deserves. I am sure my sister Mrs Mizinga Melu (Barclays Bank managing director) will also try to help in community-based sports organisations by helping them put up tournaments with important health messages on many health issues affecting our country.

It is not only the Malaria which we have to fight, but we also still have the HIV/AIDS pandemic, tuberculosis and other non communicable diseases still ravaging our country.

The challenge is to other individuals and the corporate world to come on board and fully support sports organisations in the fight against malaria. I also urge different sports organisations to have clear policies towards the fight against Malaria.

Call for action
To those companies that have not yet joined the fight against malaria, I encourage you to do so by getting involved in supporting the fight against malaria through the use of sport. This is the only way the gains that have already been attained will be sustained and lives saved if real investment in the fight against Malaria using sport is in place.

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