Rotary volunteers in Sudan welcome football on its 22-country journey

There was a carnival atmosphere for the launch of the Kick Polio out of Africa campaign held in the grounds of the National Ministry of Health in Khartoum on Thursday, March 25 in a marquee especially set up for the occasion attended by over 200 members of the press (including TV & Radio) Unicef, WHO and members of the Rotary club of Khartoum – to listen to a panel of distinguished speakers led by Sudan’s National Minister of Health – Dr Tabitha Boutros Shokai.

Sohaib Elbadawi – the KPOA coordinator in Sudan – goes on to report that the football, which arrived in Khartoum from Addis Ababa, was presented to Sudan’s health minister Dr Tabitha Boutros Shukay who thanked Rotary and all the health workers and volunteers across Sudan for their efforts in providing excellent immunisation coverage for the children of Sudan which, she said, is now paying off.  “The North of the country has not had any reported cases of Polio since June 2009 and very few cases were reported in the South of the country where a big immunisation drive will soon be underway,” she said. “As Africa celebrates hosting the first world cup in its history, we are using the football theme to finally work together to kick out this terrible disease from our continent.”

The heads of Unicef and the WHO in Sudan, plus the head of the football federation and the President of the Rotary Club of Khartoum, also attended the event.

The Kick Polio out of Africa football was then taken by boat to be photographed at the confluence of the White and Blue Niles at Khartoum, a symbolically important landmark of the ball’s historic  journey through Africa.

With the excellent support of the Sudan Football Association (SFA), a premier league match on Friday, March 26 was played at the Al Hilal stadium in Omdurman (one of the three towns comprising the city of Khartoum) between rivals Murda FC and Ahly FC  in front of a large crowd. The match provided a well-timed “kick-off”  for the national immunization campaign targeting 2.8 million Sudanese children under the age of five on the weekend. A total of 45 cases of polio were reported last year in Sudan, mostly in the south.

There was a massive photoshoot prior to the match, with live TV coverage of young players and supporters with KPOA T-shirts and numerous KPOA banners. Officials from the SFA, Federal Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF attended the match together with many Rotarians to provide support.

The ball then travelled to Juba in Southern Sudan on Saturday, March 27 and delivered into the safe hands of KPOA coordinator Julius Court of the recently chartered RC of Juba, before moving on to Bangui in the Central African Republic.


One Response to “Rotary volunteers in Sudan welcome football on its 22-country journey”

  1. vakhshclub Says:

    Welcome football Tajikistan

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