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African Union Sports Council Region 5 launches online doctor amid COVID-19

GABORONE, Botswana, May 2020/ — The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 has launched an ambitious weekly thirty minute online “Morning Doctor” programme. The programme is hosted LIVE via Facebook every Wednesday at 10am. Simply dubbed ‘The Morning Doctor’ the intervention was put in place to deal with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which has paralysed sport and sporting related activities the worldwide.

The Morning Doctor is a Region 5 initiative driven by the need to support sportsmen and sportswomen during this lockdown period. A lot of athletes, coaches and administrators are struggling to cope with issues of exercise, physical activity, health and nutrition. Most importantly, some sportsmen and sportswomen are battling anxiety and other socio-psycho anxieties that could lead to depression and stress.

The morning Doctor therefore provides solutions to such potential hazards by educating the sports movement on how to adjust their exercise, fitness, physical activity, diet and training periodisation among others.

The AUSC Region 5 CEO, Stanley Mutoya expressed excitement over the launch of this innovation which has added to the Region’s innovation portfolios. This follows the introduction by Region 5, three weeks ago, of another online campaign dubbed #StaySafe. This campaign has seen prominent sportsmen and sportswomen including Ministers responsible for sport in the Region 5 Member countries spreading video messages encouraging members of the public to stay safe and practise good hygiene in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections.

“We are delighted that the #StaySafe Campaign has received so much support from our key role players, opinion leaders and athletes,” said Mutoya. “To date, video messages from Ministers responsible for sport in Angola, Eswatini and Angola have been carried on the platform and more continue to be uploaded in order to consistently convey the message across,” Mutoya added.

Coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted the world and the sports industry has emerged as one of the hardest hit. Sports events, competitions and gatherings have been halted globally with some major international events such as the Olympic Games, Tour de France, EUFA Champions League and several leagues the world over being put on ice indefinitely. This abrupt stop of all sporting activities and imposition of lockdowns has created a new normal that sportsmen and sportswomen have struggled to deal with. As part of its proactive innovation, the Region 5 therefore designed the Morning Doctor to ease the pressure and tension in an industry that is still trying to find its feet under these trying times.

The Morning Doctor is being hosted by South African Doctor Phatokuhle Zondi, a Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM) Physician experienced in clinical sports medicine, general management, and leadership. Doctor Zondi serves as the Chair of the Medical Advisory Commission for the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and on the Board of Directors of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sports (SAIDS). She is also the past President for the South African Sports Medicine Association (NGO). Currently she is serving as the CEO of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.

The design of the programme is such that Doctor Zondi will be working with a team of other Doctors from Angola, Botswana, Zamia and Zimbabwe who will form a formidable team of experts to guide sportsmen and sportswomen. Dr. Jao Mulima (Angola), the first FIFA Doctor, physician and chairman of the National Sports Medicine Centre and also head of the Luanda Provincial Association of Athletics in Angola is part of the team of doctors to run this project. He is joined by Dr. George Magwende (Zambia), a former Senior Assistant Commissioner responsible for health services in the Zambia Correctional Services, former Zambia National Football Team Doctor and currently Right To care Zambia (USAID) Coordinator. The team also has Dr, Nicholas Munyonga (Zimbabwe), Managing Director of Health 263 Healthcare Consulting, current Africa Zone VI Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) Chairperson and Chairperson of the Health, Medical Services and Anti-Doping on the Region 5 Games Regional Organising Committee (ROC). This team will be coordinated by Doctor Zondi to provide essential information service to the sports movement in the region.

The AUSC Region 5 has been innovative in designing new strategies and approaches to reach the various stakeholders affected by this deadly COVID-19 pandemic using digital platforms and media. This has made the region a leader in Africa among all five Regions of the African Union in embracing and utilising information and digital technologies to reach out to the wider populace grappling with how to deal with this invisible enemy.

The CEO of AUSC Region 5, Mr Stanley Mutoya said “The Morning Doctor programme on Facebook requires support from the citizens of our region in all ten Member Countries as we join our governments in this relentless fight against the corona virus.”

Sportsmen and sportswomen are invited to tune in to the Region 5 Facebook page every Wednesday at 10am to benefit from this educative and informative programme aimed at making life bearable as we all struggle to manage under the COVID-19 induced lockdowns in the various countries.

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Moagi Madisa

"Although journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information and also the product of these activities; for me its science - our sorroundings"

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