Today on World Malaria Day, the United Against Malaria (UAM) campaign, under the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership, recognized leaders from Africa’s football (soccer) and corporate spheres for their role in bringing malaria control messages to more than two billion 2010 World Cup spectators through public service announcements and media, and to 10 million employees through “Malaria Safe” corporate initiatives. Using football as the catalyst, UAM continues to unite private sector and NGO partners to the fight against malaria.
“As we look forward to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, we continue to believe there is a powerful link between malaria prevention and football,” said Kwesi Nyantakyi, Ghana Football Association president and UAM supporter. “UAM messages resonate with our players and fans on and off the pitch. With every token of support – each UAM jersey, banner or bracelet – African communities are uniting to turn the tide on malaria.”
UAM launched in 2009 as a campaign of anti-malaria partners who leveraged the popularity of football and public anticipation of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The campaign’s 57 football-themed public service announcements (PSAs) in 16 languages reached as many as 64% of World Cup viewers via television and radio, according to a survey in Tanzania. In addition, UAM African corporate partners have raised critical funds for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through fan parks and the sale of UAM bracelets. Building on these successes, UAM continues to harness the popularity of football to bring diverse sectors to the fight against malaria.
“UAM has proven that football can be an effective platform for engaging new audiences in the fight against malaria,” said Professor Awa Marie Coll-Seck, executive director of the RBM Partnership. “UAM’s important work attracts a new and diverse group of partners, helping us reach our international target of reducing malaria deaths to near zero by 2015.”
United Against Malaria Celebrates World Malaria Day
In line with the 2011 World Malaria Day theme of “Achieving Progress and Impact,” UAM celebrates its role in the global fight. In the past decade overall malaria deaths have dropped by almost 20% and many African countries have cut malaria cases by over 50%, saving the lives of 485 children every day. At the United Nations headquarters in New York this morning, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, together with Professor Coll-Seck, presented UAM African and multi-national corporate leaders, including Exxon Mobil, Nando’s, Novartis, Pfizer, Standard Bank, Sumitomo Chemical and Vestergaard Frandsen with a “Golden Boot” recognizing their contribution to the fight against malaria. In football, the “Golden Boot” is often awarded to the player who scores the most goals in a tournament.
- In the lead up to World Malaria Day, UAM also hosted events across Africa, where more than 90% of all malaria deaths occur:
- In Tanzania, UAM and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs (CCP) brought a football clinic to 500 children, with educational games, colorful signs and speeches to teach them about malaria.
- In Ghana, the Ghanaian Minister of Health and over 100 corporate leaders participated in a UAM gala and signed UAM footballs to pledge their support.
- In South Africa, with support from UAM corporate partner Nando’s, celebrated explorer Kingsley Holgate is speaking on air and in retail stores about his UAM humanitarian missions throughout the continent – and about the work that lies ahead.
- In Mali, corporate partner Azalai Hotels Group organized a UAM football tournament, press conference, a high-profile celebrity match, as well as a private dinner concert for 200 people.
- In Uganda, UAM and Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) led a malaria symposium with local football clubs. The clubs pledged to use UAM branding in their stadia and broadcast UAM messages during matches.
- UAM corporate partners such as MTN and Total Uganda have promoted various malaria initiatives across their markets including distribution of educational materials.
- UAM partner Right To Play spread malaria education and prevention messages through keynote speeches, marches, and health-based sport and play activities.
Protecting Africa’s Employees through ‘Malaria Safe’ Initiatives
UAM corporate partners have adopted “Malaria Safe” principles to educate and protect their employees against malaria. Anchored in education, protection, visibility and advocacy, the Malaria Safe Playbook was developed by UAM founding partner CCP in response to the interest of African corporations to protect their employees, customers and communities. Over 10 million employees have been reached through Malaria Safe initiatives.
UAM Bracelet: Raising Funds to Combat Malaria, HIV/AIDS and Poverty
The colorful UAM beaded bracelet has become a symbol of the winning fight against malaria; over 350,000 have been sold. In addition to raising funds for mosquito nets in sub-Saharan Africa, the bracelets provide a much-needed income for the HIV affected men and women in South Africa who produce them, an employment project of the Relate Trust. Nando’s has been a leader in the development and distribution of the bracelet and additional corporate partners, such as Standard Bank, have purchased thousands of bracelets for employees as a pledge of support.
Malaria, an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes, is preventable and treatable yet claims the life of a child every 45 seconds. Malaria kills more than one million people each year, most in sub-Saharan Africa, but the landmark 2015 goal of near zero deaths from malaria can be achieved with sustained investment in proven interventions along with research and development of new tools.
About United Against Malaria
Using the popularity of soccer as the catalyst, United Against Malaria aims to galvanize partners throughout the world to reach the international target of reducing malaria deaths to near zero by 2015. To learn more about United Against Malaria or to purchase UAM bracelets, visit www.UnitedAgainstMalaria.org.
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