Global stars unite to turn up pressure on world leaders as malaria deaths reach highest number in nearly a decade

Press Release • 25 May 2022

  • 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 funds totalingUS$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 28th May 2022 in Johannesburg, a new campaign film directed by Ridley Scott prodigy Meji Alabi, is fronted by malaria champion David Beckham; international footballing star  Pierre Emerick AubameyangEliud Kipchoge, Kenyan Olympic Gold-medallist and marathon world record-holder; Yemi Alade, Nigerian Afropop singer, songwriter and actress; Bonang Matheba, South African television presenter; and Faith Kipyegon, Kenyan 2016 Rio Olympic and 2020 Tokyo Olympic running champion.
  • Over the past year the ground-breaking campaign, part of the Zero Malaria Starts With Me movement, has united young people across Africa – where malaria kills a child nearly every minute – generating over 35 million engagements across the campaign’s website and social media channels.
25 May 2022: Geneva / Johannesburg / Kigali / Lagos / London / Nairobi

A stellar cast of international changemakers have again teamed up to rally in the fight against malaria today, launching the second chapter of the multi-award-winning Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign.

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 multi-award-winning campaign aims to turn up the pressure on world leaders to commit funds totaling 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 unlocking 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, including the World Health Organization and The Global Fund, the second phase of Draw The Line is fronted by a stellar cast of young people, activists, scientists, and stars from international footballing legend David Beckham and FC Barcelona striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, to marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge and Afropop singer Yemi Aladi. 

« In addition to the innovation of new tools, we must invest in 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 lifesaving malaria services where they are needed most. 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 »

Dr Corine Karema, Interim CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

« The World Health Organization welcome a new host of talent, scientists, youth, and champions to join the malaria fight at a crucial time when the highest number of malaria deaths have been recorded in nearly a decade and the disease is at real risk of global resurgence. Draw The Line provides a ground-breaking new 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 now kills a child nearly every minute. »

World Health Organisation
Teaming up to fight for what counts – line by line

The fast-paced new Draw The Line film, directed by Grammy-winning Ridley Scott prodigy Meji Alabi, builds on the ground-breaking momentum of the first phase of the campaign, delivering an urgent message highlighting the malaria crisis, whilst encouraging leaders that this is a fight we can win with the right arsenal of tools, strong funding commitments, and renewed political will.

« I’ve supported the malaria fight for many years and I’m proud to be part of this amazing campaign, alongside so many inspiring artists, athletes and champions from across Africa. This is a year of big opportunity and I urge leaders to recommit to ending malaria at the Kigali Summit in June and later this year by contributing at least US$18 billion to the Global Fund to create a safer, healthier, fairer world for us all. »

David Beckham 

The short film, which will be rolled out on channels and platforms across Africa, premieres at the Paramount/MTV Africa Day Concert on 28th May 2022 in Johannesburg, ahead of 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 23rd June. 

The Summit is a milestone moment in the malaria fight and enabler of game-changing political decisions including delivering on the commitment to halve malaria across the Commonwealth by 2023 and accelerate global efforts to cut malaria by 90% by 2030. It is here that the campaigns’ giant tapestry of crowdsourced artwork, made up of collective malaria ‘Muundo’ lines will be shared with world leaders

The faces of thousands of supporters from all over the world will also be projected on to the walls of the Kigali Convention Centre dome, including David Beckham delivering a personal message to world leaders, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s keynote speech, and a dance crescendo from MTV/VMA award winning choreographer Sherrie Silver and her dance crew.

« I am proud to be a voice for this campaign at such a significant time with big decisions ahead. I caught malaria in 2021 when playing for the national team in Gabon where 100% of the population is at risk from malaria. It was a tough time, I was lucky to be able to get to a doctor, in time to make a full recovery, but so many people don’t have access to essential medical care, especially children. As a dad I find it totally unacceptable that malaria takes the life of a child every minute when it can be prevented, treated and cured. »

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
A seminal year in the malaria fight: why now is the time to step up action

The latest World Malaria Report figures show that disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to an additional 47,000 malaria deaths between 2019 and 2020, with a total of 627,000 lives lost to malaria in 2020 – the highest number in nearly a decade. 

Children are especially vulnerable, accounting for 80% of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, with around 481,500 losing their lives across the Continent.

The increases in malaria cases and deaths seen in 2020 come on the back of years of plateaued funding, which has been compounded by emerging threats from the natural world, such as growing drug and insecticide resistance, as well as disruption to malaria prevention and treatment services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other humanitarian emergencies. The fight against malaria is at a precarious juncture, and without immediate and accelerated action further ground may be lost. 

The new figures also show that malaria places an even greater burden on fragile health systems than previously thought. Underfunded and overwhelmed front line health services, coupled with weak or non-existent disease tracking systems, and high levels of existing diseases like malaria, which also presents as fever, are driving up the risk of disease ‘blind spots’ potentially concealing new infectious diseases with the ability to spread across the world.

The Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign was created by dentsu International and Black Dog Films who led the creative strategy, concept, production, and media, and developed with the RBM Partnership to End Malaria in collaboration with global malaria partners and a coalition of agencies, including the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), the African Union Commission, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Speak Up Africa, Impact Santé Afrique, Malaria No More UK, and Goodbye Malaria.

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