Boris on African child health mission
He is gorgeous, talented, and has a heart of gold.
Last weekend, American actor Boris Kodjoe was in town for the Barbados Music Awards, performing hosting duties, but while here, he took time to highlight a cause that is very close to his heart.
Boris gave some insight into his charity, which he spoke very passionately about. He and his wife actress Nicole Ari Parker founded the charity Sophie’s Voice Foundation, after their first daughter Sophie was born with spina bifida.
Boris explained for Bajan Vibes what it was all about, and what they were strongly advocating for.
“My daughter was born with spina bifida, which is a birth defect that affects about eight children a day in the United States. The lower extremities are affected. [There’s] no bladder and bowel function, [but] it’s 75 per cent preventable by folic acids. A lot of women don’t know that.
“So by adding folic acids to flour, they ingest it automatically and are protected; and that’s what we are advocating for in Africa,” Boris explained.
He told Bajan Vibes that campaigning for more folic acids in flour in Africa was very important to him, especially since his father is from Africa. He revealed that he visited Africa six to seven times a year to ensure that everything was running smoothly.
“In order to advocate for folic acids, I have to be there to talk to the government. I have to talk to the health ministries of each country, so they commit to adding folic acids to flour. So far, it’s going good. Every time I go, three to six months later they actually do it, but you have to keep them accountable,” Boris said.
He added that of great concern was the number of children who might have spina bifida in Africa but would never be diagnosed. This he described as sad.
“We have been fortifying flour for 20 years in the United States, so the numbers are not as high as they are in Africa. In Africa, the health systems are different in every country. In Ghana, for instance, there is only one nurse per region. So you can imagine most of those kids born with spina bifida aren’t even diagnosed.
“Sadly oft-times their parents don’t know what to do with them. They’re abandoned and left to die,” Boris lamented.
On a much lighter note, the amiable and funny actor said when he was not travelling he loved to spend time with his children.
“My spare time I spend with my kids. I golf a little, but when you have kids your golf game goes down the river. When you have kids, you don’t get to spend much time on the golf course, unfortunately,” he said with a chuckle.
Apart from focusing on his charity, acting in very steamy movies like his most recent Addicted and the parody Real Husbands Of Hollywood РР Boris pays heavy attention to his very own health.
“I’m all about physical, spiritual and mental health. All work together. You have to maximize your own potential with those three things. If one lacks, you can’t maximize your potential. So they are all important,” he advised.
Boris admitted, however, that apart from all that he did not take himself too seriously, and loved to laugh and enjoy life.