Roche, Neurologists, MSAIN Raise Awareness About Multiple Sclerosis (MS) In Nigeria Through Football

Roche, Neurologists, MSAIN Raise Awareness About Multiple Sclerosis (MS) In Nigeria Through Football

Roche has announced an awareness campaign in partnership with a patient advocacy group – Multiple Sclerosis Awareness in Nigeria (MSAIN) to mark the World MS Day.

The campaign aims to raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and the importance of early diagnosis by developing an experiential football that mirrors the signs and symptoms of the disease.

By using the football, a community team, Alpha FC in Abuja gained first-hand insight into how MS affects and impairs the senses. Of the 2.9 million people living with MS worldwide, over 100,500 live in Africa with approximately 2,800 new diagnoses every year.

According to recent statistics, 10,048 Nigerians are living with an MS diagnosis. As disease prevalence increases, Roche is actively working with neurologists and MS patient groups to increase awareness, support the improvement of MS data and registry systems, and address barriers to accessing MS care and treatment in Nigeria and Africa.

In collaboration with healthcare professionals and MS patient associations, Roche has developed an experiential football that imitates the signs and symptoms that people with MS experience every day, such as blurry vision, lack of coordination, muscle spasms and stiffness.

To mirror these symptoms, the football was created using heavy “MS Symptoms and Signs” materials and an uneven, rough surface. A football was left at Astroturf football pitch in Abuja to encourage unknowing players to use the ball and experience the sensory challenges of MS symptoms.

A short video released by Roche [https://youtu.be/aN2k3J1b3xk] documents the community experiment, where players struggled to kick, score goals and pick up the football. “It can be difficult to spot the different signs and symptoms of MS, but Roche and MSAIN want to raise awareness by finding a common ground.

In Nigeria, football is a universal language,” said Ladi Hameed, General Manager Roche Products Limited Nigeria. “We hope this campaign will increase understanding and support for the 10,048 brothers and sisters in Nigeria who have MS.

“It shows us how the disease can make everyday activities unexpectedly hard but the support of a strong team can make a difference. When it comes to MS, we know that early diagnosis, good treatments and the support of the family and the community are all part of a winning team,” Hameed said.

Prof. Yakub Nyandaiti, Secretary of the Nigerian Society of Neurological Sciences, stated that MS presents with different signs and symptoms which make individual experiences vary. Due to the fact that the signs and symptoms fluctuate, similar patterns do not occur in every patient.

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Early diagnosis and treatment improve acute and long-term health and wellbeing. He encouraged anyone with concern to seek medical assistance from a physician i.e to go and see a doctor.

“A lot can be done to help those with multiple sclerosis to have a healthy life. There is presently no cure for MS, however, signs and symptoms can be ameliorated successfully with several medications and research is still ongoing. We are glad to be working with Roche on the MS awareness campaign,” Nyandaiti explained.

“It took my doctors 4 years to diagnose me with MS. By that point, my symptoms had already worsened and my quality of life was permanently changed,” said Erepere Bello, Founder, MSAIN, highlighting the importance of early diagnosis.

“I used to play outside with my children, but with MS, I am unable to spend as much time with them. It is heartbreaking that I can’t do the things I once loved. I hope that this campaign will help people like me to identify the disease sooner, so they can access the treatment that will allow them to maintain a good quality life, surrounded by their family and community.”

Your help can take us further so please search social media for #MSConnections, watch and share our MS football video and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.”

The theme for this year’s World MS Day is ‘Connections.” Roche and MSAIN are part of a group of six African countries who have joined together to raise awareness for the signs and symptoms of MS, build community and connections to quality care through the MS football initiative.

By fostering better awareness and understanding of MS and its associated symptoms, Roche and MSAIN’s campaign aims to increase the number of people who visit their GP for MS diagnosis and advocate for further support for MS patients in Nigeria.


Founded in 1896 in Basel, Switzerland, as one of the first industrial manufacturers of branded medicines, Roche has grown into the world’s largest biotechnology company and the global leader in in-vitro diagnostics.

The company pursues scientific excellence to discover and develop medicines and diagnostics for improving and saving the lives of people around the world. We are a pioneer in personalized healthcare and want to further transform how healthcare is delivered to have an even greater impact.

To provide the best care for each person, we partner with many stakeholders and combine our strengths in Diagnostics and Pharma with data insights from the clinical practice.

In recognising our endeavour to pursue a long-term perspective in all we do, Roche has been named one of the most sustainable companies in the pharmaceuticals industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the thirteenth consecutive year.

This distinction also reflects our efforts to improve access to healthcare together with local partners in every country we work. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group.

Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com and for more information, contact: Doris Duke at Roche Products Limited on 09038562436.

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