2010 World Cup to be turning point against Malaria in Africa


I found this article in the online English language version of a Chinese newspaper, Xinhuanet.com.  This discovery in itself was interesting.  But what really caught my attention was the news that the World Economic Forum on Africa, along with the attention on the Continent due to the upcoming World Cup, was going to be leveraged to further the fight against malaria.

As the article states, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania said:

“African countries and international organizations will grasp the opportunity of the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa to advocate the fight against malaria and accelerate actions of confronting the No.1 killer of children under five on the continent”

Chambers continued…

“We are on track to reach our fundamental goal of getting mosquito nets to all those in need by the end of 2010, but we still have to make sure the nets are being used properly…by combining Africa’s enthusiasm for football with messages encouraging proper net utilization, we know we can save lives.”

At the World Economic Forum on Africa, a gathering of more than 10 African heads of state and government, and around 1,000 participants from over 80 countries to discuss the continent’s development agenda, the 26-member African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) and the United Against Malaria (UAM) partnership on Wednesday issued a challenge to business and football associations to help make the first FIFA World Cup to be held on African soil a turning point in eliminating malaria across Africa.

This is all wonderful news.  The World Economic Forum is a  gathering of heavy-hitter thinkers and power brokers.  Hopefully, leveraging this event and the upcoming World Cup will continue the momentum around achieving the goal of reducing malaria deaths to near zero by 2015.  This is one goal that seems very achievable and I hope that the global spotlight of the World Cup will be fully leveraged to push this cause.  But if this story remains hidden away on the English language version of an online Chinese newspaper, I’m a bit concerned.  Hopefully this story gets more coverage in major news outlets and becomes more of a cause to rally around as the games get closer.  And hopefully some businesses get involved in the cause.  This seems like an issue that many corporations and industries, from pharmaceuticals to textiles, could easily get on board with.

To read the original article, click here: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2010-05/06/c_13280018.htm

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