A Global Campaign against Malaria

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Rebecca Ejifoma reports that ‘Draw The Line Against Malaria’ campaign, a new youth-focused creative campaign championed by a global coalition of change makers and culture influencers, inspires Africa’s youths to demand political action from their leaders to end malaria within a generation

A new youth-focused creative campaign powered by African stars launched today to ‘draw the line (DTL) against malaria’, one of humanity’s oldest and deadliest diseases.

Global Coalition of Change Makers

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.

Art Visualisation

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 June 24. 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.

Malaria Cases in Nigeria

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 said, “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.”

Draw the Line Campaign

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 said, “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.”

Siya Kolisi, Captain of the Springboks, South Africa’s World Cup winning rugby team, said: “Every child, every young person deserves the chance to step into their potential. This is a world changing campaign and we have the opportunity to protect the futures of millions of children across Africa. My message to young people is to get excited and to get involved because this is one disease we can end within a generation. Together we stand and say: Malaria: We’re too strong for you.”

Dr. Omotola J Ekeinde, Nigerian actress and philanthropist, further noted that: “It would be incredible if we could end malaria in Africa, I have known this disease my whole life. It breaks my heart that Nigeria is so affected with over 250 lives lost here every single day. This campaign is a moment for us to unite in determination and action, it’s time to take our futures back.”

Sherrie Silver, award-winning Rwandan British choreographer, said: “I lost my nine-year-old cousin to malaria and at that moment my life changed. Ending malaria became a personal mission for me. It is not acceptable that in this day and age malaria remains a huge killer of children. I’m proud to be a part of this campaign which is building up to a critical leadership moment in June when my home country Rwanda will host a Global Summit on Malaria and NTDs at the time of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.”

Meji Alabi, Nigerian film director, said: “This campaign is a beautiful opportunity to change the narrative and to show off 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. It’s refreshing to talk about the world’s oldest disease in a new way and to focus on young people because our actions today will help transform their futures. Being Nigerian myself I’ve lost a lot of loved ones to malaria and it is time for this to change.”

Osas Ighodaro, Nigerian American actress said: “This is a cause very close to my heart. My sister was expecting her baby in 2006 and she caught malaria and was not able to overcome it…it was a devastating time. Right now, 1 in 3 pregnant women suffer from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa – this is a human problem because malaria can be beaten if we unite together. This campaign is a moment for change and I fully believe in my heart, we will see and celebrate the day when malaria is no more.”

Saray Khumalo, South African explorer, noted: “Ending malaria will change the course of humanity for good, forever. I grew up living with malaria in DRC and Zambia, so I know how devastating this disease is. Malaria is a human problem that is entirely preventable so we can all be involved helping to solve it. South Africa is a great example of a country where malaria elimination is within our grasp.”

Unifying Global Platforms

In 2018 the world came together to demand urgent action against malaria. Zero Malaria Starts with Me was launched by African Union leaders and in communities and countries across Africa, and 53 Heads of Government came together to commit to halve malaria in the Commonwealth by 2023.

The movement has generated community Zero Malaria champions supporting national End Malaria Funds to drive private sector investment. Others have established parliamentary groups to advocate for greater action and resources to fight malaria.

The next few years are critical to reach out 2030 targets. In 2021 we will inspire a new generation to join the Zero Malaria Starts With Me movement with the fresh new Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign, creating a unifying, ground-breaking and inspiring global platform which will capture youth and public imagination, and rally communities and leaders. The campaign aims to generate mass awareness and high visibility for the Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement across malaria-affected countries and beyond.

On the 22 February Viacom CBS Networks Africa announced that it was joining forces with the ZMSWM movement and supporting the Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign.

Campaign Partners

The Global partners include 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

On the other hand, the supporting partners include Goodbye Malaria, Rentokil Initial, Restless Development. Results, Sanofi, Target Malaria, and ViacomCBS Networks Africa  while they broadcast partner is DStv and the Creative & Brand Strategy is dentsu International.

The main campaign film was shot by Black Dog (part of Ridley Scott Creative Group), JM Films, DentsuACHTUNG!, Láolú NYC, Daniel Obasi, Ugo Mozie, Wave, Trim Editing, TSE, Big Buoy while they behind the scenes film was shot by Fiksa, Dafe Oboro, Mark Pengelly, Nicole Eveleigh. The digital was handled by Isobar, Firstborn, Facebook while media was by Carat, iProspect. The film music

“Muanapoto” was performed by Tshegue and written and composed by Faty Sy Savanet and Nicolas Dacunha-Castelle at ℗ 2017 Dakou Studios under exclusive license to EOS Records © EOS Publishing & Dakou Studios – 2017

Courtesy of Ekler’o’shock and Dakou Studios.

2021 – A Key Year for Malaria

Two decades of partnership and global commitment have led to transformative progress against malaria preventing 1.5 billion cases, cutting deaths by more than 60 per cent and saving more than 7.6 million lives since 2000 – this represents millions of children who have grown up to lead happy and productive lives.

At the beginning of 2020 mortality rates were at the lowest point ever, but the world has changed since then. A remarkable collective effort across Africa has enabled countries to fight back, with more than 90 per cent of malaria prevention campaigns moving forward in 2020 without major delay, but the rapid spread of COVID-19 this year has further threatened to disrupt malaria progress.

The World Health Organisation is warning that disruption to malaria diagnosis and treatment caused by COVID-19 could lead to thousands of additional deaths.

Looking Towards a Malaria-Free Future

Experts convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO) agree that malaria eradication is likely to save millions of lives and billions of dollars.

In 2019, The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication – made up of leading scientists from around the world – found that if we focus efforts on strengthening leadership, increasing investment, prioritising research and innovation, including the development of new tools, and implementing smart, data driven programmes, ending malaria is possible within a generation.

Decisions made now by global political leaders – backed by strong public support – will determine this trajectory. Already, more countries than ever are within reach of elimination, with Algeria and Argentina both certified malaria-free in 2019, but every country should be able to reap the benefits of zero malaria. We must act now to create a fairer future that leaves no one behind.

About Global Action to Eliminate Malaria

In 2018, global investment and action saved almost 600,000 lives and prevented almost 100 million malaria cases compared to 2000. Despite these gains, malaria cases and deaths remain unacceptably high and concentrated in 19 countries.

In the last two years leaders across the world renewed their commitment and united to fight against malaria: In April 2018 53 Heads of Government committed to halve malaria in the Commonwealth by 2023; Governments, science, and the private sector added their support pledging $4.1 billion to accelerate research and development of new tools for the malaria fight and expand access to life-saving tools; In July 2018, 55 leaders of the African Union launched the pan-African Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement, co-led by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the African Union Commission empowering communities to take greater action to accelerate malaria elimination across Africa.

In just over a year, 10 countries have unveiled campaigns and more than 20 countries – including malaria-affected countries beyond Africa such as India – are getting ready to step up the fight; and in October 2019, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the leading source of malaria funding globally, was successfully replenished with $14bn.

Key Statistics

Despite enormous progress, nearly half the world is still at risk from malaria, which killed 409,000 people in 2020 —almost two thirds are children under five. Africa carries the greatest malaria burden in the world, with 94 per cent of all cases and deaths.

A child dies from malaria every two minutes – 700 children a day; and six countries account for over 50 per cent of malaria deaths. Nigeria (23 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11 per cent), United Republic of Tanzania (five per cent), Burkina Faso (four per cent) Mozambique (four per cent) and Niger (four per cent).

Also, women and children are disproportionately affected by malaria: 2/3 of all malaria deaths are children under five, and 1 in 3 pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa suffers from malaria; Africa has the fastest growing youth population in the world – at a time when young people are facing unpreceded challenges from COVID-19, malaria steals time, work, salaries, education, and futures.

We know ending malaria is possible. Sustained global efforts over the last two decades have saved over seven million lives and prevented more than 1.5 billion cases. Half the world is malaria-free and at the start of 2020, pre COVID-19 malaria deaths were at the lowest point ever. Since 2000, 21 countries reported zero indigenous malaria cases for three consecutive years. In Africa this includes Morocco (2010) and Algeria (2019).