Drogba Aims to Use WHO Sports Ambassador Appointment to Reach Youth
Football star Didier Drogba and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. 

Football star Didier Drogba aims to use his new position as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Goodwill Ambassador for Sport and Health to promote healthy lifestyles, especially to young people.

“Many people do not have access to health services and non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes are rising globally,” the former Chelsea striker and Cote d’Ivoire captain told a media briefing in Geneva on Monday.

“Furthermore, the world faces grave, complex and evolving challenges in addressing poverty alleviation, climate change, and tackling COVID-19 recovery efforts,” said Drogba.

“In this role as WHO Goodwill Ambassador, I am determined to work in partnership with WHO, FIFA, civil society, the youth, the private sector, and other sector stakeholders to reach out to as many football fans as possible, using sport as a powerful educational and fun field to promote messages on the benefits of physical activity and other healthy lifestyles, and highlight the value of sports, particularly for youth.”

Previously, Drogba was a United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador, focusing on development issues in Africa between 2007 and April 2021, and has also taken part in various campaigns relating to healthy lifestyles, anti-malaria and HIV.

“Didier is a proven champion and game-changer both on and off the pitch,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. 

“We are pleased to have him playing on our team, and helping communities worldwide reach and score goals through sports for their physical and mental health and well-being. He will also support the mobilization of the international community to promote sports as an essential means for improving the physical, mental health and social well-being of all people, including in helping COVID-19 recovery efforts.”

Current global estimates show 80% of adolescents and a quarter of all adults, do not do enough physical activity. Regular physical activity, including through sports, helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various types of cancer.

Drogba’s announcement as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador was made during a ceremony to launch the “Healthy 2022 World Cup – Creating Legacy for Sport and Health” partnership between Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health and its Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, WHO and world football’s governing body, FIFA.

Qatari Health Minister Dr Hanan Al Kuwari


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