MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia’s world famous soccer star George Weah has produced a song to raise awareness about Ebola, the deadly disease ravaging West Africa.
Weah said he hopes the song will help stop the spread of Ebola, which has so far killed 961 in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Nearly 2,000 people have been infected with the disease, and health officials have said they are struggling to contain it.
“Let us all arise and come together to fight Ebola; Ebola is real,” the lyrics of the song exhort. Experts say fear and misunderstanding of Ebola have led many to ignore medical advice, fueling the disease’s spread. Some even doubt the disease’s existence.
Liberian authorities have tried several ways to get the message across that the disease is real and that people with symptoms must seek medical care. Everyone has been encouraged to their wash hands frequently, avoid contact with the sick and to suspend traditional burial practices that involve touching the corpse.
Weah, who before he retired was once named FIFA’s player of the year, is now a politician and singer; he has run for president twice.
He said Liberia’s Health Ministry asked him to join their efforts to raise awareness, so he worked with the Ghanaian musician, Sidney, to record the song. Proceeds from sales will go to the Liberian Health Ministry.
During a performance Sunday night, Weah said he feared that if nothing is done the disease will spread beyond the four countries.
“I know Africa will be affected if we don’t take it seriously,” he said.