By Chioma Obinna
In a bid to make this year’s World AIDS Day highly impactful, the Nigeria Red Ribbon Coalition, a strategic public-private sector alliance, organised a novelty football match yesterday in Lagos to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and also provide free HIV Testing and Counselling services.
The celebrity football match featured ex-international football stars who have carved a niche for themselves in the soccer sporting world as well as notable celebrities in the Nigerian music and film industry.
They included Emmanuel Babayaro (health Ambassador and Ex-Super Eagles Goalkeeper), Ifeanyi Udeze, Victor Agali, Emmanuel Okocha, Abdul Isah and several others. Representing the movie and music industry were stars like Belinda Effah (actress and presenter), John Njamah (actor/movie producer), ID Cabassa (popular music producer whose real name is Olumide Ogunade), Sound Sultan (born Olanrewaju Fasasi), and a host of other celebrities who took time out of their busy schedules to join hands in pushing back the scourge of our common adversary – HIV.
The coalition convened by Coca-Cola , Nigeria comprises Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF), Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI), Society for Family Health (SFH).
Declaring the match open, the convener and Community Affairs Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Emeka Mba, reiterated the company’s resolve to support grassroots innovative approaches aimed at improving lives nationwide.
He noted that the Coalition which started last year, was building on the successes made at the inaugural edition in 2015 by mobilizing and sensitizing people to know their status with the provision of free HIV testing services in a friendly environment, tackling issues of stigmatization, discrimination and fear of getting tested, promoting social inclusion and adequate care for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and stimulating a larger stakeholder involvement.