9 December 2020

9 December 2020Using sports to increase health awareness in Siaya County, Kenya

“Antimicrobials: handle with care” is the global slogan for Antimicrobial Awareness Week in 2020. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites resist the effects of medications, making common infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of life-threatening illness.

The overuse of medicines, for people and livestock and poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene continue to accelerate antimicrobial resistance (AMR) worldwide. In marginalised communities with limited access to healthcare, it is essential that families practice good hygiene and proper use of medicines to help prevent future resistance.

In November this year, Ace Africa Kenya received generous support from ReAct/South Centre Switzerland and Jane Bubear Sports Foundation to implement World Antimicrobial Awareness Week through a community football tournament and other local events in Siaya County.

A week-long football competition was organized with local community based organisation Got Agulu Sports Council and the Ministry of Health. A total of 9 teams and 360 young people aged 9-25 took part in the football matches. All participants and spectators adhered to COVID-19 prevention measures through social distancing, handwashing and wearing face masks.

Game on course

In addition, four teams for children aged 12-17 were supported with football jerseys and face masks, sponsored by Jane Bubear Sports Foundation. The project aimed to reach socially isolated young people in fishing communities on Lake Victoria, at risk of HIV/AIDS, limited access to health and hygiene, and child labour. The football tournament gave these young people a rare opportunity to build individual and team working skills, improve their health and fitness, and learn about their own health and rights.

Finalists with Ace director

The winning boys’ and girls’ teams were given trophies and all children who participated in the football league given certificates as AMR ambassadors in their communities.

Prices for winning teams

Alongside the football tournament, children and adults in Siaya County engaged in awareness raising activities as part of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week. Education sessions for children and adults, banners and booklets, specialist drama performances and features on two local FM radios spread the message. The project reached over 250,000 children and adults with improved knowledge of health and hygiene, local services, and best practice with medicines.

Thank you to ReAct/South Centre Switzerland and Jane Bubear Sports Foundation for your fantastic support to make this happen.