One of Africa’s most talented former footballers, Segun Odegbami, has been appointed as an ambassador of a United Nations Agency, Non Communicable Disease (NCD) Alliance.
Odegbami was a former Nigerian skipper and winner of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1980 having also played pivotal role in his Shooting Stars’ winning of the Africa Winners’ Cup in 1976.
He is to be an ambassador of NCD in its global campaign: ENOUGH.
In this role, Odegbami is expected to lead in raising advocacy and widespread support for more realistic and sustainable government attention to NCD related issues at all levels in the country’s health sector; especially in areas of funding, equipment and manpower development.
Founded in 2009, the NCD Alliance has developed a robust global network of more than 2000 organizations in 170 countries.
Odegbami putting on Jersey number 9, the only time in his 43 appearances for Nigeria, attempts breaking a tightly packed Algerian defence in Costantine on October 30, 1981. It was his last match for Nigeria.
Senior Policy and Campaign Officer at NCD Alliance, Ms. Lucy Westerman, in an electronic mail communicating the appointment, expressed the organization’s pleasure in having Odegbami’s engagement in the ENOUGH Campaign as a widely – acknowledged NCD Champion.
“We are pleased to hear of your experience and work with the youths and concerning health. This makes you a most suitable champion and it will be good to learn more about this work and the experience”, she wrote.
The NCD Alliance is a United Nations recognized global thought leader on NCD policy and practice; convener of the civil society movement; partner to governments and UN agencies; and advocate for people at the risk of; or living with NCDs.
This year, the alliance has launched a global advocacy campaign with the theme: ENOUGH; Our Health; Our Right; Right Now!
According to details on the Alliance website, NCDs such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, account for 68% of global mortality; or two out of every death in all parts of the world. A total of 39.5million deaths are recorded every year arising from NCDs, according to statistics published on the website,
Odegbami, an international sports school proprietor in Ogun State and strong campaigner for healthy living habits, will be recalled, had written several articles calling attention to the state of healthcare in Nigeria in the past few decades.
He had been a consultant for the Nigeria Heart Foundation (NHF) since year 2003; and is on record as a member of a research team working on active transport amongst youths in five African countries.
In 2013, Odegbami was invited as a resource person to the 13th Public Health Congress for over 4000 medical personnel from 157 countries in Ethiopia for his work in youth education and sport.
Five years ago, Odegbami was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Sport by Bradley University, Ohio, USA.
According to Ms. Westerman, Odegbami, through his writings and public engagements, is considered a highly valuable partner and is being engaged as an NCD champion to play a strategic role in the agency’s 2018 global advocacy campaign.
This is in line with the organization’s vision which is to strive towards engendering a world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life, free from preventable suffering, stigma and death caused by NCDs.
Currently working with several thousands of youths, community leaders, political leaders, various sectoral groups and other compatriots to lead his home state, Ogun, in the 2019 governorship elections, Odegbami has consistently played up the agenda of a much expedient radical intervention in the state’s health sector as a major reason for seeking to govern.
“I’m excited and at once, humbled by this global recognition. There’s so much work to do in our health sector.
The easiest place to die in the whole world today is Nigeria. Government at all levels must adopt a new attitude to funding and managing our hospitals; investing in medical research and keeping our qualified manpower in our hospitals all over Nigeria; instead of the current trend of losing our best hands in medicine to Europe and Asia”, Odegbami said.