Chief Executive, Malaria No More UK
Malaria has plagued humanity throughout history and ending it has, at times, felt like a distant dream.
Global investment and action has saved 7.6 million lives from malaria and prevented over 1.5 billion cases since 2000, but progress and funding to end the disease have stalled over recent years. The parasite is fighting back and the emergence of COVID-19 has made the battle against the world’s oldest and deadliest disease harder than ever.
A future without malaria
In this context and against the backdrop of the global pandemic, at a time when global health security issues have never been higher up public, political and media agendas all over the world, a powerful new short film developed by Ridley Scott Creative Group Amsterdam was launched in December 2020. It features David Beckham speaking from the future at the moment that humankind has defeated malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that still kills a child every two minutes.
Cutting-edge visual effects technology aged David Beckham to deliver a message of hope, reminding the world of what we are all capable of achieving when we unite to fight and defeat diseases and how our collaborative science, research and innovation work is crucial to make malaria no more within our lifetimes. This includes vaccine and insecticide research, innovation to implementing smart, data driven programmes and boosting community health worker capacity.
Changing the path of history
We have the chance to change the course of history and now is not the time to step away. Any cuts to malaria programming, due to the economic implications of COVID-19, risk exacerbating a malaria resurgence in children and young people and weaken the world’s response to the current pandemic, since malaria programmes are key to the correct diagnosis of fever diseases.
By investing in ending malaria, we will not only save lives that would otherwise be lost to this deadly disease; we will also protect national and global health systems from the double burden of malaria and new diseases like COVID-19. In short, malaria investment protects the future growth and prosperity of countries around the world, giving children everywhere a better start in life and building a safer world for all of us.
Vital decisions made now by global political leaders at the G7 and Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTD’s (Neglected Tropical Diseases) on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), this June, will determine this critical trajectory.