A project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs.

CECAFA Challenge Cup

Since 2010, the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) has partnered with United Against Malaria to deliver critical messages about malaria prevention and treatment to millions of fans through Africa’s oldest football tournament, the CECAFA Challenge Cup. The annual competition includes some or all of the CECAFA member football federations--Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zanzibar. Guest teams from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire and elsewhere have also competed, giving UAM even more visibility in Africa. Each year, as many as 60,000 fans attend each of the 26 matches, and millions more view or listen from home. In 2012, UAM also participated in the CECAFA Kagame Club Cup, a competition of club-level teams from the region. 

Like football, malaria is an everyday occurrence in East and Central Africa. In the CECAFA region alone, an estimated 38.9 million malaria cases occur each year, resulting in more than 209,000 deaths, nearly a quarter of all malaria-related deaths on the continent. To raise public awareness about the threats of this preventable and treatable disease, CECAFA has joined UAM in placing banners on the pitch, UAM messaging in the programs, and UAM uniforms on ball boys and officials. UAM activities typically include a press conference and media training for scores of local and international journalists, with instruction from the National Malaria Control Program, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and other partners. Other activities include a media football match dedicated to the fight against malaria, a high-profile reception where UAM champions show their support of the campaign, and and public education via television and billboards. As many as 100,000 copies of GOAL! magazine have been distributed in Swahili and English, spectators, dignitaries, and football federations. The simple messaging is repeated often: (1) Sleep under an insecticide-treated net every night. (2) At first signs of fever, go to a health center for malaria testing and treatment. (3) Encourage pregnant women to seek antenatal care to protect their unborn babies from malaria.

Latest news coverage:

What do football and malaria have in common? NTV's Sam Mpoza in Uganda reports on the efforts of United Against Malaria at this year's CECAFA Kagame Cup in Tanzania (14-18 July) to use football as a platform for raising awareness about malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that kills a child in Africa every 60 seconds. UAM partners at the tournament included the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) and the Voices for a Malaria-free Future project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Footage courtesy of NTV.

"Johns Hopkins partners with CECAFA to kick out malaria," Sunday Express, Dec. 12, 2012 (Nairobi)