Nigerian Celebrities Join Global Line-up of Stars in Draw The Line campaign Against Malaria

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A new youth-focused creative campaign powered by African stars launches today to ‘draw the line’ against malaria, one of humanity’s oldest and deadliest diseases. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign is championed by a global coalition of change-makers and culture influencers inspiring Africa’s youths to demand political action from their leaders to end malaria within a generation.

Popular faces featured on the campaign include Dr. Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Nigerian actress and philanthropist; Laolu Sebanjo, Nigerian-British artist; Osas Ighodaro, Nigerian-American actress/producer and Meji Alabi, critically acclaimed filmmaker and music director. Other stars in the line-up are Saray Khumalo, South African explorer and Eliud Kipchoge, Kenyan athlete and Olympic Gold-medalist.

Combining an interactive digital platform with a powerful campaign film, young people across the continent are charged to visit www.zeromalaria.org and add a personal line of Muundo art to a growing piece of crowdsourced artwork which represents a visual call to action to world leaders. The artwork will be shared at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, being held on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda on 24th June. The Summit is a milestone moment in the malaria fight and enabler of game changing political decisions including delivering the commitment to halve malaria across the Commonwealth by 2023.

Global artist from Nigeria and Art Director for the Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign, Laolu Senbanjo, is the creator of Muundo, the first universal malaria language, comprising lines, symbols and patterns which represent an eye-catching visualization of the actions needed to end malaria once and for all.

Recording over 60 million cases in 2019 and 95,000 deaths, Nigeria is the country with the highest number of malaria cases and deaths in the world. The DTL campaign launches at a critical time, with setbacks to malaria progress suffered amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the country set to unveil the new National malaria elimination strategy which will run from 2021-2025.

Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO of RBM Partnership to End Malaria addresses the renewed urgency in the fight against malaria saying, “Long-time investments in the malaria fight continue to pay dividends and are pulling double duty during the pandemic. By strengthening our health care systems, we can better respond to both new and existing health threats. Today, we must all draw the line against malaria and recommit to achieving zero malaria in Africa and around the world.”

The Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign, which supports the growing Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement, reflects the human story of malaria and the devastating impact it has on education, employment, health, and prospects of Africa’s growing young population.

Speaking on the creative concept, Meji Alabi says, “It’s refreshing to talk about the world’s oldest disease in a new way and to focus on young people while showcasing the infectious energy, talent and inspiration coming out of Africa right now. From art, to music, culture, and fashion – the influence and creativity is palpable.”

At a time when young people are facing unprecedented challenges from COVID-19, malaria steals time, work, salaries, education, and futures. Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde captures the severity of the situation, noting “I have known this disease my whole life. This campaign is a moment for us to unite in determination and action, it’s time to take our futures back.”

The ‘Draw The Line’ campaign is fronted by a coalition of global partners including the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), the African Union (AU), The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Impact Santé Afrique, Dentsu International, Malaria No More UK, RBM Partnership to End Malaria and Speak Up Africa.

In the run up to the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs Summit, the ‘Draw The Line’ campaign will roll out youth-centric initiatives of cultural resonance, sounding a rallying cry for them to step up action in the fight against malaria and join the confluence of voices reclaiming their futures “till we see and celebrate a day when malaria is no more.”