“The football for health project is actually a legacy FIFA left with Africa, part of Asia and the Americas after the South Africa World Cup 2010.
“They realized how the African child was quite enthusiastic about football. They also noticed that we as a continent had problems with both communicable and non communicable diseases.
"So they decided that in preventing these diseases we need to get the kids to understand what brings about some of these diseases. So they developed the football for health concept where they use football to teach health messages,” Dr Pambo explained in an interview with Myjoyonline.com
Under the project, pupils between the ages of 12-13 and mostly in JHS 1 are taken through eleven football skills including heading, dribbling, shielding, defending with a corresponding health message such as protect yourself from HIV, avoid drugs and alcohol, use treated bed net and wash your hands respectively.
“45 minutes is used to teach the kids some football skills then we go on recess like 15 minutes, same as we have in football and the second half is devoted to health messages
“When you use football to teach, the kids keep the messages better because they could identify a particular health message with a particular football skill which they learn and it's been fantastic,” Dr Pambo noted.
The project was successfully piloted in 18 schools in Accra and would now be extended to 120 selected schools across the country with 270 tutors.
Dr Pambo said the project had an invaluable impact on the pupils who were selected for the pilot project.
According to him, the project inculcated in the young boys a high level of respect for their colleague young girls.
“Before we started the pilot we gave them questionnaires which we used to assess their knowledge on some of these key health messages. After we delivered the programme then we assess their knowledge again using the same questionnaire and we realized that pupils knowledge on some of these disease had gone up to more than 70 per cent.
The project is in partnership with the Ghana Football Association, the Ministries of Education, Health Youth and Sports.