Malaria elimination finds its rhythm in Sierra Leone

05 October 2020

5th October, 2020, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Today, 12 talented and committed singers and rappers and champions of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me / Malaria E Don Wan Dae Na Mi Han campaign in Sierra Leone are releasing a song to raise awareness about malaria and to encourage others to join the fight. Listen for free at www.audiomack.com.

The campaign extends its profound appreciation to all the artists involved: Drizilik, Fantacee Wiz, Jooel, Kao D Nero, Kelema, Kracktwist, Maggie, Markmuday, Mr. Young, Nyxx, Samza, Situa. The song was produced by Solo’s Beat and Jassy Jozzie and managed by Paragon Agency.

With support from Speak Up Africa, an advocacy action tank based in Senegal, and the Sierra Leone National Malaria Control Programme, these 12 musicians came together to write and record this song about the most deadly disease in Sierra Leone. The artists have 1 thing in common: they stand resolute in their commitment for a malaria-free Salone and to using their influential voices to generate the energy and enthusiasm from the population at large to make this goal a reality.

Drizilik, a multiple award-winning rapper in Sierra Leone, said “We got involved in the campaign and using our voices and our platforms just seemed to make the most sense. We’re looking forward to spreading the word and continuing to champion Malaria e Don Wan Dae Na Mi Han!”

Fantacee Wiz, a long-time and passionate activist and award-winning folk singer, said “Malaria e Don Wan Dae Na Mi Han means that we all have a responsibility in this fight, so we did what we know how to do: to sing, rap and dance! I have faith that my fellow Salone man dem will light the path to elimination for the rest of Africa.”

“Zero Malaria Starts With Me” is a Pan-African campaign to eliminate malaria by 2030. It seeks to raise the profile of the disease among decision makers to ensure that the fight against this disease is sufficiently prioritised. It also promotes the idea that every single person in society has an important role to play and that only through a mass mobilisation and commitment of ordinary people will substantial progress be made.

In 2018, in Sierra Leone alone there were 1,78 million confirmed cases and 1,949 deaths. The impact of this disease on individuals, families, the economy and overall development of Sierra Leone cannot be overstated. While significant progress has been made in recent years (with the number of estimated deaths dropping by around 50% since 2010), the burden of malaria continues to be heavily felt in Sierra Leone and much of sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for over 90% of the global disease burden.

Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, a key champion of the campaign in Sierra Leone and beyond, said “We are honoured and proud to see these young Sierra Leoneans use their talents, voices and platforms to raise awareness about malaria during a time when the world’s eye is fixed on the coronavirus. I welcome this initiative and encourage everyone to declare Malaria e Don Wan Dae Na Mi Han and work together towards a malaria-free Salone.”

Some of the themes that the song touches on are:

  • The importance of sleeping inside a bet net all year round. Bed nets are the most effective prevention tool we have and are responsible for over half of the reduction in cases seen since 2000. 4.6 million bed nets were distributed for free in May-June.
  • The importance of seeking immediate testing and treatment. The main symptom of malaria is fever. It is vital that people go to the nearest health centre when they see fever for a test and, if positive, to follow the recommended treatment.       
  • The importance of protecting vulnerable groups. Children under 5 and pregnant women are at the highest risk from malaria. It is essential that pregnant women go for regular check-ups and take preventive treatment and that infants also take preventive treatment and are taken immediately for testing when they get a fever. Children under 5 account for 70% of malaria deaths.
  • We can’t let the coronavirus slow down progress against malaria. Malaria has a much higher mortality rate than coronavirus, especially among vulnerable groups. We can’t let the fear of coronavirus prevent us from going to the health centre – not going is much more of a risk than going – and we must simply respect social distancing, wear face masks and wash hands.  

The song, itself simply titled “Malaria e Don Wan Dae Na Mi Han”, will be aired on many radio stations and available to listen online for free. The music video will also be released in the coming weeks. Stay tuned and Stay Safe! To learn more about the Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement, please visit www.zeromalaria.africa

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