Liberian soc­cer star sings out against Ebola

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

With Ebola rav­aging his home­land, world-fa­mous Liberian soc­cer star Ge­orge Weah de­cided he could make a dif­fer­ence by sing­ing about it. Weah said he hopes the song will help stop the spread of the deadly dis­ease, which has so far killed 961 in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nige­ria in West Africa. Nearly 2,000 peo­ple have been in­fected, and health officials have said they are strug­gling to con­tain it.

“Let us all arise and come to­gether to fight Ebola; Ebola is real,” the lyrics of the song ex­hort. Ex­perts say fear and mis­un­der­stand­ing of Ebola have led many to ig­nore med­i­cal ad­vice, fu­el­ing the dis­ease’s spread. Some even doubt the dis­ease’s ex­is­tence.

Liberian au­thor­i­ties have tried sev­eral meth­ods for get­ting the mes­sage across that the dis­ease is real and that peo­ple with symp­toms must seek med­i­cal care. Every­one has been en­cour­aged to wash their hands fre­quently, avoid con­tact with the sick and to sus­pend tra­di­tional burial prac­tices that in­volve touch­ing the corpse.

Weah—who was once named player of the year by FIFA, soc­cer’s in­ter­na­tional gov­ern­ing body, be­fore re­tir­ing in 2003—is now a singer and a politi­cian; he has run for pres­i­dent twice.

He said Liberia’s Health Min­istry asked him to aid their ef­forts to raise aware­ness, so he worked with the Ghana­ian mu­si­cian Sid­ney to record the song. Pro­ceeds from sales will go to the Liberian Health Min­istry.

Dur­ing a re­cent per­for­mance, Weah said he feared that if noth­ing is done the dis­ease will spread be­yond the four coun­tries.

“I know Africa will be af­fected if we don’t take it se­ri­ously,” he said.

Liberian soc­cer star Ge­orge Weah turned singer and politi­cian is is help­ing raise aware­ness about Ebola with a song he recorded.

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