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Global athletes unite to fight against Malaria during COVID-19

Global athletes unite to keep the fight against Malaria alive during COVID-19

Against the backdrop of the global pandemic COVID-19, leading athletes from Africa and beyond are championing the fight Malaria. They include Kenyan world-record-holding marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge, World Cup-winning South African rugby captain Siya Kolisi, top female South African explorer Saray Khumalo, veteran international footballer Luis Figo, and founder of the first-ever Nigerian bobsled team Seun Adigun. They are urging people to ‘see the bigger picture’ by tackling COVID-19 and malaria together to save more lives.

Malaria is one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases, transmitted by mosquitoes, which still kills an average of over 400,000 people annually – over 90 per cent of them in Africa. An estimated 228 million long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) were due to be delivered across Sub-Saharan Africa this year – which is more than has been delivered. However, COVID-19 caused severe disruptions to importation and limited access to antimalarial medicines. This means that there’s a high chance of Malaria deaths doubling compared to 2018.

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Global athletes unite to keep the fight against Malaria alive during COVID-19

Emergency Response Campaign – The Bigger Picture

To shine a spotlight on the vital importance of sustaining malaria efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bigger Picture campaign features Eliud Kipchoge, Siya Kolisi, Saray Khumalo, Luis Figo, and Seun Adigun.

The stars film themselves wearing a face mask whilst talking about the vital importance of tackling malaria and saving more lives during the pandemic, creating a striking image of both COVID-19 and malaria together – a visual representation of seeing the Bigger Picture.

Kenyan athlete and Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s fastest marathon runner, says: “As a marathon runner, there’s nothing more important than keeping focus. As a father, there is nothing more important than protecting my children. With the fight against COVID-19, the world has been united, as one. Let us stay focused not just to fight COVID-19, but to fight Malaria as well. Let’s continue the fight for Zero Malaria – because no human is limited.

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Veteran footballer Luis Figo, a champion of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign, says: “Both COVID-19 and malaria are formidable opponents, and we must come together to tackle them at the same time and save more lives. As we fight COVID-19, we must not let our guard down against malaria, which strikes the poorest and the most vulnerable hardest. Zero malaria means no child should die unnecessarily from a preventable and treatable disease.”

The Mosquito Clap Challenge

Global athletes unite to keep the fight against Malaria alive during COVID-19

The Mosquito Clap Challenge gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers of malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and shine a spotlight on ongoing efforts in the fight against the world’s deadliest creature. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever we must keep up the fight against killer diseases like malaria. By fighting COVID-19 and malaria together, we can save more lives and make a safer world for all.

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The Challenge features a series of short dance videos featuring influencers as well as malaria youth champions from across Africa to illustrate the importance of continuing to fight the world’s oldest and deadliest disease. When mosquitos get in people’s faces, it is usually accompanied by a swat or a clap to shoo them away or to catch them. Zero Malaria has teamed up with international Afropop dancer and choreographer Ezinne Asinugo to turn this clap into an easy 5-step routine for anyone anywhere to share across social media platforms (using the hashtag #MosquitoClapChallenge), including Instagram and TikTok. Download the theme song HERE (We’ll create a link where the track can be downloaded).

The resulting film of collated entries from around the world will be released in lead up to the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, running from 15-30 September 2020, to encourage world leaders and key players to sustain their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic in the fight to end malaria.


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