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newtimes - 2 month ago

Sherrie Silver, host of African stars out to fight malaria in global youth campaign

Rwandan-British star choreographer Sherrie Silver is among a group of African stars and advocates who have vowed to fight malaria in a campaign dubbed, ‘Draw the Line against Malaria’, which is aimed at pushing towards the elimination of the disease. Last year in March, Rwanda joined the ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ movement, in a drive to accelerate malaria elimination across the African continent. The ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ campaign was launched in 2018 by President Paul Kagame in his capacity as the African Union chair. It sought to build community ownership of malaria efforts and increase political commitment for malaria elimination. ‘Draw the Line Against Malaria’ is a new youth-focused creative campaign launched on February 24, and features a number of African stars and anti-malaria advocates seeking to inspire young people from across the African continent and the globe, to call on their leaders into action to end malaria within a generation. The campaign will run until the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases that will be held just before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on June 24. Sherrie Silver, the award-winning U.K-based choreographer and Divin Murenzi, a Rwandan Youth Champion have joined Kenyan Olympic gold medalist and world marathon record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, the captain of the South African national rugby team—the Springboks, Siya Kolisi and Nigerian actress and philanthropist, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde on the campaign created by Dentsu International. Other stars on the campaign include Nigerian-American actress and producer Osas Ighodaro, South African explorer Saray Khumalo and Nigerian artist Láolú Senbanjo, who is the Art Director for the campaign. Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to impact the world, the new youth-focused creative campaign seeks to spark more action on malaria, which remains one of humanity’s oldest and deadliest diseases. CHOGM momentum The changemakers came together to inspire young people from across the African continent and the globe to call on their leaders at zeromalaria.org and push for political action to end malaria within a generation. The campaign was launched exactly four months ahead of CHOGM, with the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), hoping to build on the presence of world leaders in Kigali to push for concrete action. The summit is expected to be 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, according to a statement released ahead of the launch. ‘The Draw The Line Against Malaria’ campaign, which supports the growing Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement, reflects the energy, talent, and cultural influence emanating from the African continent with references to art, fashion, music, sport and entertainment. The campaign combines an interactive digital platform at zeromalaria.org and is brought to life through a powerful film highlighting young people taking charge of their lives and refusing to allow malaria to steal their futures. “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,” Silver said. Joining forces Kenyan athlete and Olympic gold medalist, Kipchoge added his voice, saying that malaria should no longer have a place in the world today. “I believe in the power of human potential and our ability to change the world, because no human is limited. Malaria has no place in our lives today. This disease has stolen from us for too long, stopping people from working and children from going to school,” “Even now, malaria is still taking the life of a young child every two minutes. We can change this, we can overtake this preventable, treatable disease and end it in my lifetime. Join me and let’s draw the line against malaria once and for all,” Kipchoge said. Although 90 per cent of life-saving malaria prevention campaigns were delivered as planned in 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that disruption to malaria diagnosis and treatment could lead to thousands of additional deaths across the African continent. Before the Covid-19 pandemic half of the world’s population were already living with the threat of malaria and, despite promising progress since the beginning of the millennium, the parasite is fighting back. The most recent WHO Malaria Report, shows that now is not the time to step away with 229 million new infections and over 400,000 malaria deaths reported in 2019. The vast majority of these deaths are young children under five across sub-Saharan Africa. Rwanda accounts for 2 per cent of all malaria cases and 1 per cent of all malaria deaths but in recent years, the number of malaria cases has declined rapidly, and incidence fell by nearly 50 per cent between 2017 and 2019—thanks to the Government of Rwanda efforts.


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