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Kei Kamara, Idris Elba & fellow players help fight Ebola

DECEMBER 8, 2014  By Sahr Morris Jr.

Sierra Leone striker Kei Kamara has joined actor Idris Elba and a host of international footballers to launch a public awareness campaign to help halt the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and to recognise the health workers’ fight against the deadly disease.

The Africa United Campaign message was unveiled before last Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations draw which was conducted in Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo. The message includes broadcasts information on the disease and how to stop it spreading. The message was done in French, English, Krio and other local languages.

According to the organizers, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation, the messages will be sent out to the three countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – who are worst affected by the virus, and also their neighbours via television, radio, billboards and phone text messages.

Elba, who came to fame in TV series ‘The Wire’ and played Nelson Mandela in the biopic ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’, said the campaign has a special resonance to him.

“For me the battle against Ebola is a personal one,” said Elba, whose parents are from Sierra Leone and Ghana. “To see those amazing countries in West Africa where my father grew up and my parents married being ravaged by this disease is painful and horrific.”

In one of the campaign’s spots, Elba plays a football coach giving a halftime talk during West Africa’s ‘life or death’ match against Ebola and passing on tips on how to spot the disease and prevent new infections.

The other videos show the footballers – Yaya Toure, Carlton Cole, Kei Kamara, Patrick Vieira, Fabrice Muamba and Andros Townsend – as they pay homage to the frontline health workers operating in the area by wearing their names on the back of their shirts instead of their own.

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