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Regional News of Saturday, 24 May 2014

Source: GNA

UN Adviser presents Global Ball to Accra Mayor

Dr. Djibril Diallo, a United Nations (UN) Special Adviser, has presented the “Global Ball” to the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, as part of their campaign to use football for social change.

Dr. Diallo said the campaign dubbed: “Protect the Goal,” which was first launched at the 2013 African Cup of Nations, highlighted the value of football as a tool to raise awareness around HIV prevention, and encourage the youth to get involved in the promotion of safer sexual practices.

He said the campaign, which was endorsed by President John Dramani Mahama and Asamoah Gyan, on January 2013, emphasizes the importance of individual social responsibility and organisations that play an important role in advocacy for HIV awareness and prevention by linking the disease to football.

Dr. Diallo said the campaign which was driven by the “practice safe sex” strategy had three key evidence-based messages to the youth, including the use of condoms, know your HIV status and reduce sexual partners against the devastating effects of the disease.

He said the Global Ball had embarked on an exciting journey through African countries that would represent Africa in the World Cup in Brazil with their Heads of State appending their signatures on the ball before it finally landed in Brazil.

“The reasons by the Heads of State of each of these African countries to append their signatures was to symbolize their renewed commitment to accelerate the UNAIDS vision of a world with zero new HIV infection, discrimination and AIDS-related deaths,” he emphasized.

Dr. Diallo enumerated other activities that have been earmarked, which include online discussions on prevention with particular emphasis on the three key evidence messages, and the devastating effects of the HIV-related stigma on individuals.

“We have collected over 150,000 signatures from youth, celebrities and other high profile personalities so far, in collaboration with the National Youth Authority,” he explained.

Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, MCE of the AMA, who received the ball, expressed gratitude to the UNAIDS team, and revealed that President Mahama is committed to ensuring that the objectives of the UNAIDS are fulfilled to reduce the HIV status in the country.