International athletes and other celebs join the fight against malaria

The Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign features retired soccer star David Beckham and Eliud Kipchoge, the world marathon record holder.

David Beckham headshot
David Beckham is backing the anti-malaria campaign. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

NEW YORK: If the stars of a new film aimed at tackling malaria can spur people in their respective countries to join the effort, it will truly be a global campaign.

The video from the Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign features soccer stars David Beckham from England and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang from France; marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya; gold-medal-winning Olympian Faith Kipchoge of Kenya; TV presenter Bonang Matheba of South Africa and Afropop singer Yemi Alade of Nigeria.

The film is the latest effort from a campaign launched in 2001 by Dentsu International in conjunction with the Zero Malaria Starts With Me movement. 

In 2020, there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627,000 deaths from the disease, most of them in Africa, according to the World Health Organization. 

The latest iteration of the campaign aims to put pressure on world leaders attending the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases this month in Rwanda to commit to ending malaria and invest $18 billion in the Global Fund, an advocacy organization against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

The film features Alade’s song “Dancina,” and portrays malaria as though it’s an opponent the star athletes are training to defeat. 

“Malaria, we’re coming to get you,” Aubameyang, who plays for the Spanish La Liga club Barcelona, says in the video.

The film appeared on channels and platforms around the world, including at the Paramount/MTV Africa Day Concert on May 28 in Johannesburg.

Beckham, a founding member of the Malaria No More U.K. Leadership Council, also appeared in a 2019 campaign video that used deepfake voice technology to make it appear as though Beckham was speaking in nine languages to urge people to take action against malaria.

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