Celebrities Hugh Laurie, Emeli Sande, Peter Capaldi, Noma Dumezweni and Ncuti Gatwaare are fronting a new campaign from Malaria No More to encourage more people to sign its voice petition to end malaria ahead of the Global Fund Replenishment conference in Lyon this October.
The stars appear in a short film to promote the voice petition alongside historical 20th century icons whose voices have previously changed history including Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, highlighting the power of the voice to help beat malaria.
The celebrities reinforce Malaria Must Die’s call to action for people to speak up and join the voice petition – thought to be a world first – to end malaria.
The ‘Malaria Must Die’ campaign is designed to amplify the voices of those affected by malaria and give people around the world the opportunity to speak out. The voice petition was launched in April through a short film fronted by David Beckham, in which he appeared to speak nine languages using AI video synthesis technology.
This second short film reiterates the campaign’s urgent call to action inviting people around the world to visit malariamustdie.com and record the message ‘Malaria Must Die’. Each voice collected via the petition will contribute to a piece of audio art known as a sound sculpture, aimed at grabbing the attention of leaders.
The campaign launches at a time when the UK and other governments around the world are making their funding decisions ahead of the Global Fund replenishment conference in Lyon in October.
According to the charity, the Global Fund provides almost 60% of all international financing for malaria-related causes, supporting efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat it.
Last year, the UK used its role as host of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 to convene the Malaria Summit London, alongside the governments of Rwanda and eSwatini. As a result of the meeting, all 53 Commonwealth Heads of Government adopted a new commitment to halve malaria across the Commonwealth by 2023, which would prevent 350 million cases of the disease in the next five years and save around 650,000 lives.
However, this will not be achieved without a fully funded Global Fund, and Malaria No More is hoping to encourage more government commitment.
James Whiting, CEO of Malaria No More UK said:
“Millions of lives hang in the balance, dependent on the replenishment of this crucial fund, which is also critical to delivering the historic commitment made in 2018 to halve malaria in the Commonwealth by 2023. Halving malaria over the next five years is a vital step towards reaching the 2030 global goals – helping to unleash the massive potential of individuals, communities and countries affected by the disease.”
“Whilst we have seen significant progress against malaria – including two more countries certified as malaria free last month – the disease is also fighting back, with many countries seeing increasing numbers of cases. We urgently need international funding to combat this resurgence risk; history has shown us that malaria will return with a vengeance if efforts are not kept up. The crucial decisions made now by political leaders – backed by strong public support – will determine the future trajectory of this disease.”
Each of the celebrities has a personal link with malaria.
Noma Dumezweni, English actress who starred as Hermione Granger in the original West End and Broadway runs of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child said:
“I spent my childhood living and travelling through malaria-affected countries Eswatini, Botswana, Kenya and Uganda. I am inspired and hopeful to hear that deaths have since been significantly reduced in most of these countries. This campaign is your invitation to speak up and help save lives. With your voice, we can be the generation to end malaria forever.”
Actor Peter Capaldi, added:
“My trip to Malawi in 2015 was a life changer. I spent time in an overcrowded hospital where almost all the children had malaria. I’ll never forget reading the hospital’s Death Book – malaria claimed life after life. Real kids, no longer with us because they lacked basics to prevent and treat this curable disease. It’s vital that the Global Fund is fully funded this year – it’s malaria that must die, not more kids.”
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