Eagles captain, Troost-Ekong, others take fight to end Africa’s Neglected Tropical Diseases to UN
Super Eagles captain, William Troost-Ekong, has joined sports stars from across the globe to draw attention to Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa by attending a special event at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The opening of the Reframing Neglect exhibition held yesterday, and will be available for viewing at the UN headquarters until February 13, 2023.
Hosted by the END Fund, together with the World Health Organisation and Reaching the Last Mile, the exhibition will be formally unveiled with a high-level evening reception moderated by award-winning sports broadcaster and UNESCO Fit for Life and Gender Equality Advocate, Benny Bonsu.
The exhibition will include remarks from the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, Afghan-Danish professional footballer, physician, and UNESCO Champion for Girls’ and Women’s Education, Dr. Nadia Nadim, and leaders from the WHO and the governments of Indonesia and the UAE.
Entitled, Reframing Neglect, the exhibition is creatively directed by world-renowned photographer and activist, Aida Muluneh, and features the work of seven African photographers, whose work highlights the causes and effects of NTDs, while ensuring the dignity of their subjects.
More than 600 million people in Africa require regular preventative treatment for NTDs, which cause long-term disabilities like severe pain, disfigurement, and blindness and in severe cases can lead to death if left untreated.
In addition to health challenges, NTDs can lead to social isolation and stigmatisation that affect both children and adults by reducing the number of years of education completed, future earning potential and overall economic productivity.
Troost-Ekong is supporting the cause, having launched, with the support of the END Fund, his Thrive Africa team on the Game of Our Lives (GOL) social action platform last year, and previously supporting Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health through the creation of public service announcements encouraging greater access to NTD services.
“The mission for the Thrive Africa team on GOL is to build a team of social activists who can work together to address the issue of NTDs, empowering Africa to thrive, not just survive,” Troost-Ekong stated.
“I am incredibly proud of my African heritage. It is always a huge honour to represent Nigeria on the football pitch, now I want to represent Africa off the pitch, and encourage fans to join me in doing this.
“Africa has produced some of the biggest sports stars in the world in leagues like the English Premier League and NBA. I am proud to play my part in empowering even more Africans to succeed in sport, education and business by ending NTDs, many of which can be easily and affordably treated.”
Benny Bonsu, who is joining William as co-captain of the Thrive Africa team said: “Like William, I am very proud of my African heritage and delighted to be representing the Thrive Africa team as its co-captain at this evening’s event.
“I have been an NTD Champion since 2020, working with the END Fund to use my profile within the sports world to raise awareness of the issue amongst this audience, with the hope to create meaningful change.”
International women’s soccer star, Nadia Nadim, comments: “As a fellow Game of Our Lives Ambassador, I am pleased to join William’s Thrive Africa team and attend the opening of the Reframing Neglect exhibition.
“My own personal mission is to empower women and children across the globe by giving access to better education. I will do anything I can do to act against issues, such as NTDs, which most commonly affect women and children and can stand in the way of this. I am fortunate enough to have a job where people want to listen to me and take on board what I have to say. This was not always the case, and I want to use this voice for good, by highlighting issues like this.”