Nigerian Grammy Award winners join global campaign as malaria deaths reach highest number in a decade

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In a critical year in the fight to end one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases within a generation, with game-changing high-level summits in both Rwanda and the USA, global stars have joined forces with youth and scientists from around the world, to turn up the pressure on world leaders to commit to ending malaria and invest funds totalling US$18 billion at the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment, in the next exciting phase of the multi-award-winning Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign.

Showcasing at the Paramount/MTV Africa Day Concert on May 28, 2022 in Johannesburg, a new campaign film directed by Grammy-winning Meji Alabi, is fronted by Eliud Kipchoge, Kenyan Olympic Gold-medalist and marathon world record-holder; Faith Kipyegon, Kenyan 2016 Rio Olympic and 2020 Tokyo Olympic running champion; malaria champion David Beckham; international footballing star Pierre Emerick Aubameyang; Nigerian Afropop singer, songwriter and actress Yemi Alade, and South African television presenter, Bonang Matheba.

David Beckham & Meji Alabi high res

Over the past year the ground-breaking campaign, developed by Dentsu International in 2021 as a youth pillar of the global Zero Malaria Starts With Me movement, has united people across the world at a time when malaria kills a child every minute, generating over 35 million engagements across the campaign’s website and social media channels.
According to the 2020 World Malaria Report, Nigeria has the highest number of malaria cases in the continent and globally. The country accounts for 27% of the estimated 241 million malaria cases worldwide, and 23% of mortality.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has invested in malaria prevention strategies and tools, including investment in antimalarial drugs through its partnership with the Global Fund, USAID’s President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and other non-governmental players.
In April 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria led by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire launched the Global Fund 2021-2023 Malaria grant, which aims to not just reduce the malaria burden, but eliminate it.

During the flag-off, he said “Malaria remains a public health challenge. While Nigeria witnessed the largest reduction in malaria death in 2019 …we must be mindful of other challenges posed by COVID-19 and work to mitigate the impact. We appreciate all the partners that have been working with us to achieve the desired goal.”

May 25, 2022, Lagos, Nigeria: Yemi Alade and Meji Alabi join a stellar cast of international changemakers to turn up the pressure in the fight against malaria today, launching the second chapter of the multi-award-winning Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign.

Yemi Alade

In a world still reeling from the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with global health security and pandemic preparedness remaining at the top of world leaders’ agendas, the next chapter of the campaign aims to turn up the pressure on world leaders to commit to ending malaria at the Kigali Summit and investing funds totalling US$18 billion at the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment in New York this Autumn.

Accounting for over half of global funding to end malaria, a fully replenished Global Fund is projected to enable countries and partners to reduce malaria deaths by 62%, treat 550 million malaria cases, and eliminate malaria from six more countries by 2026, as well as unlock the potential of a Zero Malaria world, helping to strengthen equitable health systems and improve the lives and futures of millions of people.

Backed by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the second phase of Draw the Line is fronted by a stellar cast of young people, activists, scientists, and stars from Malaria No More UK Leadership Council founding member David Beckham and FC Barcelona striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, to marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge and Afropop singer Yemi Alade.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General says: “The World Health Organization welcomes a new host of scientists, youth, and champions to join the malaria fight at a crucial time when progress against the disease is lagging. Draw The Line provides a platform for Africa’s most powerful narrators to change this trajectory, disrupt political apathy, and lead the fight to end this treatable and preventable disease which kills a child nearly every minute.”

“Growing up in Nigeria I have known malaria forever and experienced the disease countless times, so I understand how this disease robs so many children of their ability to go to schools and why malaria is a major cause of school absenteeism. I believe all children should have equal opportunities to realize their full potential and that’s why I’m here because we can end one of the deadliest preventable diseases of all time,” said singer and Zero Malaria Ambassador, Yemi Alade while speaking on her involvement with the campaign.


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The campaign film directed by Ridley Scott’s protégé and Grammy award winner, Meji Alabi commented on joining the campaign, “I love the energy and approach of this campaign harnessing the power of African inspired art, music, sport, fashion, and culture to drive positive change and build on the bold truth that we can end malaria. It can’t come soon enough – I was very ill in hospital last year with malaria, it was debilitating. In this day and age, no one should have to suffer from this preventable disease.”

Zero Malaria Ambassador and Art Director for the campaign, Láolú Senbanjo expressed his enthusiasm of creating the Muundo visual language during the first phase of the campaign and steering the creative direction in the second phase, “I’m honoured to have my art at the heart of this campaign expressing our opportunity for zero malaria. Growing up in Nigeria means I know malaria well – it’s a part of everyday life. It is heart-breaking that today that Nigeria remains one of the worst affected countries with over 25% of all malaria cases and deaths – so this is a very personal battle for me.”

Emphasising the importance of the fund, Dr Corine Karema, Interim CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, “In addition to the innovation of new tools, we must invest in the country health systems and programmes needed to ensure these tools and resources target the right people and right places, at the right time. The Global Fund plays a critical role in delivering life-saving malaria services where they are needed most. This year, it is vital that we see a fully replenished Global Fund get back on track and accelerate the malaria response to end this disease and strengthen health systems, creating a safer, healthier, and more equal world for all”.


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