Africa United in the Fight Against Ebola


As the largest Ebola epidemic in history continues to afflict portions of West Africa, the need to control the spread of the virus is greater than ever.

Ebola is a threat to people, health systems and economies around the globe. But West African communities in particular are being hammered by Ebola as a result of already-strained healthcare systems, mistrust of healthcare workers and fear and stigmatization of those infected. One major aspect to halting the epidemic is to ensure that healthcare workers, patients, and the public receive accurate information that dispels myths, promotes prevention methods and outlines resources for those affected by Ebola.

To aid in that effort, a new health communications campaign, Africa United is being announced today by the CDC Foundation, actor Idris Elba and a global team of African soccer stars, international health organizations and corporations.

For Africa United, Elba and a team of professional soccer stars, who have ties to West Africa, appear in new public service announcements (PSAs). The first PSA, titled “We’ve Got Your Back,” is aimed at engendering solidarity for healthcare workers who are on the front lines working to protect the public from Ebola. Other PSAs convey important Ebola prevention messages, coordinated with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff in West Africa.

Yaya Touré, an Ivorian professional soccer player, who appeared in one of the PSAs said, “I wanted to support this campaign for so many reasons. I could not sit back without doing something to help fight Ebola. It is important we don’t treat this as something we just discuss with work colleagues or simply follow on the news for updates—instead our focus should be to do something.”

I am very proud of the CDC Foundation’s backing of this important effort, and I appreciate the support of the many organizations who have come together and donated their time, voice, creativity and skills to make this communications campaign possible. This collaborative effort is an example of why public-private partnerships are crucial in uniting organizations to work together to address public health challenges—including the spread of Ebola. 

To learn more about Africa United and to view the educational materials, visit

Charles Stokes is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.