The ‘‘FIFA 11 for health’’ program launched in Accra is designed to use football, the passion of the nation to increase the interest of children in physical activities whilst improving on their health.

Ghana was selected as the first country in the world for the fourth leg of the ‘FIFA 11 for Health’ program, that trains children in schools to avoid health problems through various football drills.

The program which uses football to help improve children’s knowledge, attitudes and behavior towards vital health issues, has chalked a significant success in many African nations since it was introduced ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Eto’o said that “Football is the pleasure of being together and a safe way to improve health. To stay fit you have to be disciplined and discipline is a great tool to educate young people about a healthier lifestyle”.

According to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) communications director Ibrahim Sanie Daara, conveying messages to children using drills sticks well than any other means has proven to be effective.

He said ‘‘when you use football drills to send messages, it sticks better than using any other means. One of the eleven messages designed by FIFA is to use defending in a football game for protection. So defending means protecting yourself against sexually transmitted diseases. With this when a child gets that notion in his head when using drills, then defending means protecting yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.

“When a child is playing football, he sees clearly that defending means protection from AIDS, Gonorrhea, syphilis and that sticks.When playing, defending comes automatically and football is something that stays in your heart. It’s not about reading books all the time but when you get some of these things, it sticks’’.

The program embraces the power of football and scientific research to inspire a healthier world and better health among young people, so that they can live life to the full and provide guidance to help tackle the most frequent causes of diseases such as HIV/ AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, diabetes and obesity.



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