Soccer can help
|June 04th, 2017|
|tags:||Antalyaspor, Douala, Hospital Laquintinie, Inter Milan, Samuel Eto|
Cameroon has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. It ranks 18th in Africa for child mortality under five and 29th in the world for infants under one, standing at 148 and 52.20 per 1,000 respectively.
Samuel Eto’o, the Cameroonian striker who plays for Turkish club Antalyaspor, sees giving ‘children a smile’ as one of his ‘greatest victories’. His project, a complete paediatric centre built at the Hospital Laquintinie, a referential hospital in Douala attracted hundreds from home and abroad for its inauguration last Monday May 8 2017.
“What gives me joy is to see this project completed, because this achievement will improve the facilities and quality of care offered to our children,” says Eto’o. In a country where we count 1 doctor for 10 000 inhabitants, 1 paediatrician for 100 000 children, 1.3 beds for 1 000 patients and a disturbingly high maternal mortality rate, standing at 670 per 100 000 births, such an investment is massive. To show support to the good will, Dr Fritz NToné NToné, Government Delegate to the Douala City Council named Eto’o ‘honorary citizen’ of the city of Douala.
The Centre named ‘Pavillion Samuel Eto’o Fils’ after the footballer is well equipped with 48 beds, offices and a registration hall. “In a context where public figures and the State work together to the care of the sick, referral hospitals are born. This is a good example of a public-private partnership that the head of state has always encouraged,” says Andre Mama Fouda, Minister of Public Health.
With a high poverty index of 35.6% and no universal health insurance system access to health care remains difficult for many children in Cameroon. A World Health Organisation report says avoidable diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria caused 56% of all deaths of children aged 1-59 months in Cameroon in 2013. Through his foundation, ‘Fundacion Samuel Eto’o’, the four-time African Footballer of the Year (Ballon d'Or) donates each year, medicines worth about €100, 000 to villages, hospitals and shelters in Douala and Garoua.
In 2008, Eto’o donated four ambulance-operating rooms to the Ministry of Public Health. Each “equipped with a medical unit with different medical devices, such as a defibrillator, a respirator and a blood-pressure monitor.”
Eto’o urges fans to consider that his foundation has made a donation and hopes his works “inspires (people) to continue contributing to the well-being of their neighbours.”
Since March 2017 Samuel Eto'o who was at first the UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) Goodwill Ambassador for Spain, providing to the needs of young children with HIV/AIDS became UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Cameroon. In 2015 the footballer through his foundation also raised over €70 000 to help displaced victims of Boko Haram terrorism.
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