2010 war on malaria, TB and HIV

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pretoria - The 2010 FIFA World Cup will present a unique platform to mount the fight against malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and HIV in the African continent.

The pledge was made by Michael D'Hooghe, chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee at the third International Football Medicine Conference in Rustenburg.

"We must use this Soccer World Cup to fight the big three in Africa. We must fight against malaria, TB and HIV.

Those issues need to be fought hard as to help improving the standard of the game in Africa. We are here to learn about this continent; we will have to listen to African health practitioners and see how best we can exchange ideas for the better of the game," he said.

Delegates from the African continent and the world including representatives of the 32 teams participating in the Soccer World Cup attended the conference.

D'Hooghe also emphasized that African football should be the biggest beneficiary during and after the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

FIFA executive members said the conference was organised to try and bring expert knowledge to the game, communicate and discuss the implementation of ideas.

FIFA medical officer, Dr Jiri Dvorak, emphasized the importance of using the knowledge acquired to improve the lives of footballers as well as the standard of the game itself.

"Our biggest goal is to minimise injuries in football. People have to realise that soccer is a safe sport," he said.

"The Soccer World Cup is the best opportunity to present football to the world. We have to show that we care for the health of players and improve the standard of care," Dvorak said.

South Africa's Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Molefi Sefularo, told delegates that the country has been putting all necessary measures to prepare for the tournament to ensure that visitors enjoy quality health care.

"From the side of government, we have invested in all sectors. We are further pleased by the fact that our assessment of our state of readiness gives us comfort to be able to say we are ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup," he said.