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IOC working with NOCs to fight Ebola

February 27, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues its work with the National Olympic Committees in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia as they mobilise sport and the athletes in the fight against the Ebola virus in the three countries.

Working with the IOC, the NOCs of Guinea and Liberia have both implemented projects aimed at making use of the reach and influence of the sports community, and particularly local athletes, to help raise awareness among the populations concerned and offer concrete assistance with Sierra Leone designing similar one.

According to a release from the IOC, the Liberian NOC has opted for a multiple approach. It is training 100 ambassadors from the sports world (athletes and leaders) in each of the country’s 15 regions. These ambassadors’ task will be to raise awareness among people about the preventive measures taken by the Liberian government.

It will also encourage the national and local radio stations to broadcast messages on preventing the spread of the virus. Parallel to this project, the NOC will distribute health equipment within the communities. It has also pledged to share information and results with the various partners, which will help to make its programme even more effective.

For its part, the NOC of Guinea is training educators, who will then engage with athletes, coaches, and sports administrators throughout the country. It will supplement this initiative by distributing health kits among the 200-or-so sports and cultural organisations around the country.

Whilst last November, after meeting the president of the NOC of Sierra Leone, the IOC president praised the quick reactions of the NOC by helping with the setting-up of a British-run treatment centre in Freetown. The information awareness campaigns being run in Guinea and Liberia are similar to the ones already taking place in Sierra Leone.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: “The projects we have chosen were convincing in terms of their reach and widespread involvement of the whole sports community, and in particular the athletes. Whatever their sporting achievements, athletes are role models through their performances and determination to give their best.

“It is even more encouraging to see once again that their human qualities are equal to their sporting talent: by taking part in these awareness-raising programmes on the ground, they are making a valuable contribution to the fight against this pandemic.”

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