Hugh Laurie and Peter Capaldi among stars lending voices to malaria campaign
Hugh Laurie, Emeli Sande and Peter Capaldi are among stars joining a call to action in the global fight against malaria.
They join a number of 20th century figures, including Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Emmeline Pankhurst, in a new short film highlighting the power of voice and how it can help beat the poverty-related disease.
The film backs the Malaria Must Die, So Millions Can Live campaign’s call for people to speak up for those who need help and join the world’s first voice petition to end the disease, launched by David Beckham earlier this year.
Sex Education actor Ncuti Gatwa and Harry Potter And The Cursed Child actress Noma Dumezweni, who both have personal experiences with malaria, also urge people to sign the innovative petition.
The voice petition will be crafted into a sound sculpture to grab the attention of world leaders ahead of the Global Fund’s meeting in Lyon, in France, in October this year.
The Global Fund, which provides almost 60% of all international financing for malaria worldwide, aims to raise at least $14 billion (£11 billion) to help the global fight against malaria, tuberculosis and Aids.
Former Doctor Who star Capaldi said a trip to Malawi four years ago was a “life changer” for him, having spent time in an overcrowded hospital where nearly all the children had malaria.
He said: “I’ll never forget reading the hospital’s Death Book – malaria claimed life after life. Real kids, no longer with us because they lacked basics to prevent and treat this curable disease.
“It’s vital that the Global Fund is fully funded this year – it’s malaria that must die, not more kids.”
Singer-songwriter Sande said that she was “heartbroken” to have seen children fighting for their lives on a recent trip to Uganda.
“The horrible reality of malaria will never leave me,” she said.
“This campaign gives us a chance to change lives for the better, let’s harness the positive energy we all have inside and speak out to defeat malaria forever.”
Gatwa saw his sister catch the disease when they were children on a family visit to Cameroon.
He said: “At first we mistakenly believed it to be flu, which, in retrospect, is a scary thought. Thankfully she received treatment and got better however, unbelievably, malaria still claims the life of a child every two minutes.”
Dumezweni said: “I spent my childhood living and travelling through malaria-affected countries Eswatini, Botswana, Kenya and Uganda.
“I am inspired and hopeful to hear that deaths have since been significantly reduced in most of these countries.”
James Whiting, chief executive of Malaria No More UK, said the charity intended to halve malaria over the next five years in a bid to help “unleash the massive potential of individuals, communities and countries affected by the disease”.
He said: “Whilst we have seen significant progress against malaria – including two more countries certified as malaria free last month – the disease is also fighting back, with many countries seeing increasing numbers of cases.
“We urgently need international funding to combat this resurgence risk; history has shown us that malaria will return with a vengeance if efforts are not kept up.
“The crucial decisions made now by political leaders – backed by strong public support – will determine the future trajectory of this disease.”
Sports star Beckham launched the petition in April this year in a video in which he was given the voices of men and women from around the world, including malaria survivors and doctors fighting the disease.
– Add your voice to the voice petition at malariamustdie.com.