Date: 4th November 2022
Sleeping sickness is a disease that affects some of the poorest parts of rural Africa. It is caused by a parasite and transmitted by tsetse flies. Although the disease is treatable, it is fatal if left untreated, and diagnosis is often hampered by logistics (most cases occur in remote locations, far from medical facilities), misdiagnosis (initial symptoms are similar to malaria), and misinformation (resulting in a lack of trust in scientists and doctors in affected communities). There is currently a significant outbreak of sleeping sickness in Malawi, and Dr Adamson is involved in several research projects there: trying to understand the causes of the outbreak, and what can be done to prevent it spreading.
In much of sub-Saharan Africa, football is by far the most popular sport and the areas that we were working in were no exception. Our Malawian collaborators told us that one of the best ways to draw a crowd for our work was to organise it around a football match, with local villages playing against each other. They also told us how resources for sports equipment were scarce in these areas, and that donations of football kit would be a great way to encourage teams to take part and to forge links with the communities that we visited.
Thanks to our work here at the SFSA, alongside help from Glasgow University FC, Bo’ness United Community FC, and Queen of the South fan Ross Corbett, Dr Adamson departed for Malawi in early October with cases full of kit from Scottish football teams, and over the past couple of weekends it has been getting delivered as part of his work. The reactions from the communities we have visited have certainly been extremely positive, and it has been amazing to see how much these people appreciate the kits.
The football strip donations seem to have caught the imagination of clubs in Scotland, and several have been in touch offering sets of strips that they no longer need. As a result, more teams from areas such as the ones we have visited will receive kit in the coming weeks. If anyone has football kit that they no longer need and would like it to go to a new home where it will be very well appreciated, then please get in touch via email@example.com
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