Actor Idris Elba plays a soccer coach in a new public health campaign, with his team is about to go out and play against Ebola. He gives them the required pep talk as he paces in the locker room..
"This is not an ordinary game. This is life or death. Ebola has defeated thousands in West Africa. Its key strength is passing."
His pep talk is part of sending the right message about Ebola to the right people at the right time. West Africans love football a lot, and hopefully, this ad will catch on.
As the coach, Elba lays out the tactics needed to beat this opponent: wash your hands, don't touch dead bodies, get to a treatment center quickly if you have symptoms.
Idris Elba says that the real heroes are the doctors and nurses who are battling Ebola. The message on the screen: "Trust your health care workers. They're there to help you."
The campaign features print and billboard ads, radio spots and videos, NPR reports. The ads also offer encouragement and support to beleaguered West African healthcare workers.
And though it seems to be coming late, that is actually not the case. Ebola may be off the headlines, and defeated in countries like Nigeria, but it continues to infect and kill people in Sierra Leone.
Idris Elba's dad is from Sierra Leone, and he has said that he feels a personal responsibity to help. In the campaign, he joins a group of high-profile African soccer stars, for their team called Africa United.
Idris Elba on Stopping Ebola In Its Tracks
My father was born in Sierra Leone and my parents married there, so I've always felt a connection to that country, but never as strongly as in recent weeks as the Ebola virus has stormed through Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, ravaging communities and taking innocent lives.
A few weeks ago, as Ebola slipped down the world's list of priorities, I woke up in the middle of the night knowing I had to do something, in whatever way I could, to help fight the spread of this virus. Unchecked, Ebola threatens to not only take more lives, but to destroy the fragile economic growth that West Africa, especially Sierra Leone, has experienced post-war. So I've spent the last two weeks meeting with NGO groups working to help those affected and with the United Nations officials who are coordinating the response, learning about what is needed and what I can do to help.
It is clear from the meetings I've had that Ebola isn't just a crisis, it is a human catastrophe and one that threatens to grow stronger and spread wider if the world doesn't act now.
At the UN last week, I was honored to meet with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Dr. Samura Kamara, Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone. During the UN High Level Meeting on Ebola, I listened to President Obama and other leaders urge the world to act. The danger of the situation couldn't have been clearer. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim is talking about a "potential meltdown" if the world doesn't do a lot more and quickly.
I was genuinely heartened as country after country offered their solidarity and support, and I'm pleased that tomorrow in the UK the development minister Justine Greening is hosting a global conference to raise additional funds and equipment to contain the outbreak in Sierra Leone. But these pledges are just the start of the process. We need to make sure that the leaders' words translate into action on the ground. Proper health services and professional care can dramatically improve chances of survival from this disease, which makes quick delivery of vital materials and personnel even more essential. Until there are more health care workers to fight the disease and more tools for them to fight it with, Ebola will continue to kill large numbers of people.
The most humbling moments for me this week were hearing about the bravery of the health care workers risking their own lives to fight the virus on the front lines. Imagine having to sit down to tell your family, your parents, your wife, your child that you're going to fight Ebola. That's bravery. These workers are heroes and we owe it to them to make sure they have all the equipment they need to help them to stop the spread of the virus. We also need to redouble our efforts to develop an effective vaccine. I know that there is some progress on this front, but it cannot come fast enough.
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