After six years in dealing with cold winters of England, a tropical disease was the last thing you prone to injury Chelsea striker Didier Drogba would keep thinking outside the Premier League.
As for malaria last year, Drogba’s fight against the disease has moved from Chelsea treatment room to the jungles of West Africa, which is building a hospital and offer thousands of mosquito nets in an effort to reduce the rate of infection of one of the world’s leading causes of death.
There are 225 million cases of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that can damage the nervous system, kidneys and liver. There were 781,000 deaths from malaria in 2009, nine out of 10 in Africa, according to World Health Organization.
“I had malaria, I know exactly how it feels and it’s something I want to leave,” Drogba told Reuters on Saturday, delivering hundreds of networks that carry his side to a foundation in Thailand during the Asian tour Chelsea.
“That’s why we are giving to these networks for children and people who can not afford treatment. These are good choices, are efficient and save lives.”
Drogba has been active in the Ivory Coast native in raising funds and donating their sponsorship revenue to building a hospital in the capital, Abidjan, worth more than $ 4 million.
The 32-year-old fell ill with malaria in September, but continued to play, a move he said was silly, in retrospect and delayed recovery.
The imposing front still does not know where he picked up the disease, which the club has not revealed until two months later.
“It was very dangerous and it took gym for almost two months,” he said. “But I kept playing, I wanted to help my team, but really should not have.”
Drogba hospital project has been delayed due to a four-month conflict in Ivory Coast that killed thousands of people after an election to join the former French colony plunged back into civil war.
The country is now in recovery after the expulsion of April by the French-backed rebels of former President Laurent Gbagbo, who had refused to cede power. Drogba said he would return to his country in the coming weeks to get your hospital project began.
“The situation in Ivory Coast has made it difficult for people to receive treatment, but the country is trying to survive, little by little, things should return to normal,” said Drogba.
“I want this money to go to the right place to try to help my people and give them back what they gave me.
“They have always been my support, so I really want to help.”