BRAZILIA/ GENEVA/ WASHINGTON – Champion goalkeeper Alisson Becker, World Health Organization (WHO) Goodwill ambassador for health promotion, is kickstarting a new global fundraising campaign, titled “Give a Breath for Health,” driven by the WHO Foundation and WHO. The initiative aims to support the delivery of oxygen and other life-saving supplies to health facilities treating patients with COVID-19 around the world.
The first donation to the “Give a Breath for Health” campaign, made by Alisson, will contribute with supplies to locations in the Amazon and collaborate with the efforts of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO regional office for the Americas, in support of the ministry of health of Brazil and the State Health Department of Amazonas.
“I am a proud Brazilian and wish my people the best health possible. Working together we can overcome this difficult moment and I will do what I can to help my country, my region, and the world, during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Alisson, goalkeeper for the Brazilian national football team and Liverpool Football Club. “While vaccines offer great hope to many countries around the world, there remains a desperate need in many areas for supplies of essential medicines and equipment, including oxygen, to help keep people alive in our hospitals and clinics.”
Part of Alisson’s contribution will be used to purchase non-invasive ventilation masks for people hospitalized in remote parts of Brazil due to COVID-19. The supplies will be delivered to eight municipalities in the state of Amazonas: Coari, Humaitá, Itacoatiara, Lábrea Parintins, São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Tabatinga and Tefé.
The rest of the donation will be used to purchase equipment to fill oxygen cylinders in the municipality of Tabatinga, located on the border with Colombia and Peru. These supplies will help solve a logistical problem regarding the need to send the cylinders to other locations for refilling.
“We are concerned about the situation in the Americas, where a surge in COVID-19 cases is causing some areas to experience very high occupancy rates at intensive care units and putting health systems at risk of collapsing,” said PAHO Director, Carissa F. Etienne. “As more and more patients require hospitalization, solidarity response efforts like the one led by Alisson Becker can help provide health care workers in the region with much-needed supplies and equipment, including oxygen, to save lives.”
Oxygen delivery is among the priorities identified in WHO’s recently released Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for 2021, for which the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund is seeking to raise funds from individuals, philanthropies, and corporates.
Anil Soni, chief executive officer of the WHO Foundation, thanked Alisson Becker for his generous support to health facilities in the Americas and for being the driving force behind the “Give a Breath for Health” campaign.
“The response to COVID-19 is bigger than any one country or government can manage alone. The ‘Give a Breath for Health’ campaign is an exciting example of how the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund can enable anyone, anywhere to support the urgently needed pandemic response efforts of WHO and its partners.”