Kenyan Olympic gold medalists Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon have joined a stellar cast of global celebrities in a campaign to put pressure on world leaders to improve malaria-fighting efforts.
The Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign is part of the Zero Malaria Starts With Me (ZMSWM) movement, which engages political leaders and mobilizes funds and resources to strengthen malaria efforts across the African continent.
It is supported by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the global platform for coordinated action against the disease, and the African Union Commission, and aims to eradicate malaria in Africa by 2030.
Kipchoge and Kipyegon, along with other global celebrities, scientists, and activists, will appear in the campaign film, which will be shown at the MTV Africa Day concert on May 28.
Former English footballer David Beckham, FC Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nigerian Afro-pop singer Yemi Alade, and South African TV presenter Bonang Matheba are among the other cast members.
As Zero Malaria Ambassadors, Kipchoge and Kipyegon will lead discussions on malaria prevention and control in Kenya and around the world, as well as help raise funds to end malaria-related deaths.
“In the past, suffering from malaria has stopped me from running. Today, over 1,000 children in Africa will die from the disease. Malaria is stealing their futures. But this is a human problem that we can solve because despite the challenges no human is limited.
“We are calling on leaders to recommit to ending malaria at the Kigali Summit and later this year at the Global Fund Replenishment conference by contributing at least $18 billion to achieve zero malaria within a generation.”
“I’m proud to join this incredible campaign because I want to see an end to malaria, a disease of deep injustice particularly as it affects the world’s poorest people, especially for women and girls,” said Kipchoge.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, has hailed the initiative, saying it is instrumental in the global fight against malaria. In 2020, the disease caused about 627,000 deaths, 95 percent of which are reported in Africa.
“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,” Dr Tedros said.
As the campaign now ventures into a global rally to raise funds for fighting malaria, Dr Corine Karema, the Interim Chief Executive of RBM Partnership to End Malaria, emphasised the importance of the funds in the journey towards zero malaria.
“This year, it is vital that we see a fully replenished Global Fund to 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,” she said.
RBM Partnership to End Malaria estimates that investing $18 billion in the anti-malaria fight, through the Global Fund, will reduce malaria-related deaths by at least 62 percent by 2026.
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