The Solomon Islands has become the latest nation set to benefit from FIFA’s '11 for Health' programme. Professor Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer and Chairman of the FIFA Medical and Research Centre, visited the Solomon Islands recently and agreement was reached to introduce the programme.
The programme has been successfully operating in Africa for the last two years, and more recently in Latin America. Now the sprawling Melanesian archipelago is set to be the first Oceanian nation to take advantage of the scheme.
The objective of the FIFA’s '11 for Health' programme is to promote football as a health-enhancing leisure activity. This is done by utilising the popularity of football to disseminate simple, yet educational, health messages to tackle medical issues from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, over and under-weight to illness such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV AIDs.
“We are convinced that we can contribute through this program to the improvement of public health, starting with the preventative program at the level of school children,” said Professor Dvorak. “The school children will go home and discuss and share their knowledge with their peers, siblings and parents and an impact will be felt in the wider population of Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands is realising its health challenges and is willing to contribute to the program. Our experience visiting this beautiful country leaves us convinced that in a partnership we can achieve our objectives.
I hope to see in five years the fifth year of implementation of the FIFA 11 for Health in Solomon Islands, which also means five years of children that enter secondary school and being educated on the preventative program. They will be playing football, there will be school football clubs established, having regular inter-school competitions, always with the objective of improving their physical fitness and contribute to the maintenance of their health status.”
The Solomon Islands was the first Oceanian nation to be considered for the ‘11 for Health’ programme following a recommendation from Oceania Football Confederation President David Chung and General Secretary Tai Nicholas.
Minister of Health and Medical Services, Hon Charles Sigoto says the ministry is very much in support of the implementation of ’11 for Health’ throughout the Solomon Islands.
“I am impressed with the initiative football is taking with this special programme that also encompasses a role in community education,” Hon Sigoto said. “We encourage this function of community health awareness in my ministry and I can see here that football will enrich this role and make a big impact in our communities.”
More on '11 for Health' and on the wider work of FIFA’s Development Department can be found by visiting the links on the right.