Saturday, July 2, 2022

Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon join global campaign in the fight against malaria

Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon join a stellar cast of international changemakers to turn up the pressure in the fight against malaria today, launching the second chapter of the multi-award-winning Draw the Line Against Malaria global campaign.

Backed by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the youth-focused Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign is part of the Zero Malaria Starts With Me (ZMSWM) movement which was launched in Kenya on 31st October 2020 by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta. The Malaria Youth Army, also launched by H.E. President Kenyatta in July 2021, has utilized the global campaign to demand scaled-up action in their communities, and countries across the world, to end malaria.

Speaking during the 7th Global Fund Replenishment preparatory meeting, His Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya and Chairperson of the Africa Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) said, “I call upon all governments and indeed all stakeholders including the private sector to join us in enhancing the pledges made during the 7th replenishment cycle that we anticipate in the latter part of this year. I do believe none of us will regret investing in this worthy venture and why do I say so, because a healthy population means higher productivity.”

Kenya has made enormous strides in the fight against malaria thanks to a concerted national effort by the Government, partners, and communities, shrinking the malaria map and further reducing deaths by 2 percent, and saving millions of lives.

In April 2022, the Zero Malaria Campaign Coalition (MCC) was launched by the Ministry of Health through the Division of the National Malaria Program together with diverse actors to coordinate and elevate advocacy efforts and communications initiatives to increase political will and investment toward a malaria-free Kenya.

The Zero Malaria Campaign Coalition seeks to support the ZMSWM movement, foster multisectoral partnerships to amplify the work of the malaria community, increase awareness of the negative impact of malaria within society, and drive forward the goal of a zero-malaria countrywide.

Kenya’s very own Olympic Gold-medalist and marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge, together with 2016 Rio Olympic and 2020 Tokyo Olympic running champion Faith Kipyegon have both joined the global campaign to end the world’s oldest and deadliest disease within a generation. The campaign seeks to turn the pressure on world leaders as malaria deaths reach the highest number in nearly a decade.

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“In the past, suffering from malaria has stopped me from running. Today, over 1000 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 $18bn to achieve zero malaria within a generation,” says Eliud Kipchoge, Zero Malaria Ambassador and member of the MNM UK Leadership Council. 

The two, together with a stellar cast of young people, activists, scientists, and stars including malaria champion David Beckham, FC Barcelona striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Nigerian Afropop singer, songwriter & actress Yemi Alade, and South African television presenter Bonang Matheba, all join this global movement.

The artists have fronted this year’s global campaign film that will showcase at the Paramount/MTV Africa Day Concert on 28th May 2022. The campaign film has been directed by Grammy-winning Meji Alabi, a London-born Nigerian filmmaker.

“I’m proud to join this incredible global 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 women and girls. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was so careful to protect myself including making sure I slept under a mosquito net because one in three expectant mothers suffer from malaria in sub–Saharan Africa. Now my daughter is three, she is the light of my life! My mission is to keep her safe.  We sleep under a mosquito net and we see great tools now becoming available like celebrating the world’s first malaria vaccine trial in Kenya. This gives me great hope – I want my daughter to grow up and see the day when we have zero malaria in Kenya,” comments Faith Kipyegon – Zero Malaria Ambassador

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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, this next chapter of the campaign aims to turn up the pressure on world leaders to commit to ending malaria at the Kigali Summit on Malaria & NTDs in June and investing funds totaling US$18 billion at the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment in New York this Autumn.

“The World Health Organization welcomes a new host of scientists, youth, and champions to join the malaria fight at a crucial time when progress against the disease is lagging. 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,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

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 unlock the potential of a Zero Malaria world, helping to strengthen equitable health systems and improve the lives and futures of millions of people.

“In addition to the innovation of new tools, we must invest in the country’s health systems and programs 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 life-saving malaria services where they are needed most. This year, it is vital that we see a fully replenished Global Fund 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”, added Dr. Corine Karema, Interim CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria. 

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