PARIS, Feb. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Though it affects more than 140,000 children each year, noma remains a little-known disease among the general public. Derived from the Greek word “nomein,” meaning “to devour,” the disease destroys the face, resulting in the death of the child in 90% of cases. In order to fight this scourge, in 2019, former footballer Roger Milla set up the Noma Fund association. Together with former internationals such as Joseph-Antoine Bell, François Omam-Biyik, Patrick Mboma, Rigobert Song, and Jacques Songo‘o, he is today launching a global appeal for donations to save the lives of those called “the children without faces.”
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Eradication of noma by 2030
As part of the “Acting Against Noma 2021-2030” project, which was officially launched November 20, Roger Milla is calling upon people around the world to take part in a major fundraising campaign. The objective is to finance an action plan aimed at completely eradicating noma by 2030 by implementing a policy of awareness, prevention, and care in the most affected regions.
Among other things, the funds will be used to build a regional reference hospital in Yaoundé, as well as care and first aid centers in ten project countries in Africa: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, CAR, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, and Chad.
20 euros = one child cared for
To help Roger Milla fight noma disease, every contribution matters – on the foundation’s website, donations can be made starting at five euros. Entirely transparent and secure, payments are made using PayPal, a platform which specializes in collections for NGOs and international associations.
“Each person can give according to their means,” insists Roger Milla. “The situation of children with noma is all the more shocking since solutions do exist and they’re within reach. Noma can be treated with a simple, relatively inexpensive drug. But for the people in extreme poverty who are affected by this disease, it is completely inaccessible.”
By way of illustration, 20 euros is enough to cure a child by administering a complete treatment (antibiotics, vitamins, and disinfectant mouthwash) as soon as the first symptoms appear and before the disease begins its lightning-fast evolution.
A specialist hospital established in Africa to treat children for free
Without prevention and access to sufficient care, the only chance these children have of getting through this is to be admitted to a specialist hospital. Today, the rare cases that are treated are transferred to European hospitals at an exorbitant cost. “Only eight children were able to benefit from this in 2019,” explains Roger Milla, regretfully.
Hoping to open in the first quarter of 2022, the reference hospital will provide complete and free-of-charge surgical care, facial reconstruction and rehabilitation services for noma patients from all over Africa. Construction has been earmarked for a plot of land near Yaoundé-Nsimalen Airport, made available by the Cameroonian State.
“The WHO as well as the International NoNoma Federation and the foundation Winds of Hope have also provided us with assurances of their support,” said Roger Milla.
About Noma Fund
Noma Fund is an association dedicated to the fight against “the face of poverty.”
Established in Paris in January 2019, Noma Fund aims to completely eradicate noma disease, also known as the “face of poverty.” To achieve this, the association plans to implement targeted and effective actions in ten focus countries in Africa: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, CAR, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Chad.
The action plan, “Acting Against Noma 2021-2030,” kicks off with an awareness-raising phase, aimed at getting the word out about the disease among populations and global decision makers. The second phase will focus on prevention. It will involve the roll-out of screening campaigns in schools and among families located in the heart of areas with high incidence rates of the disease. Finally, the third phase of the plan is the construction of a reference hospital located in Yaoundé, which will provide specialized care for noma patients. At the same time, reception and social reintegration centers will be built in the 10 project countries.
About Roger Milla
Voted best African player of the last 50 years, Roger Milla has left his mark on an entire generation.
Today, he dedicates his life to his humanitarian commitments. President of the Fondation Cœur d’Afrique, in 2018 he discovered noma disease. A year later in 2019, along with other big names in football, he founded the Noma Fund.
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SOURCE Association Noma Fund