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Malaria Campaign Kicks Off, Will Coincide With 2010 World Cup Soccer

The United Against Malaria (UAM) campaign, which will work in collaboration with the 2010 Soccer World Cup, was launched Wednesday in Johannesburg, South Africa, SAPA/IOL reports (12/2).

“The UAM aims to leverage the world’s love affair with the beautiful game towards forming alliances with football players, their teams, sport officials, governments and fans, towards the goal of ending malaria in Africa. The 2010 Soccer World Cup, which will be held in Africa for the first time, presents a solid opportunity for raising mass awareness of – and taking action against – malaria,” Inter Press Service reports in an article examining the campaign. Herve Verhoosel – external relations manager for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, which helped found UAM – said, “Ninety percent of all global malaria-related deaths occur in Africa, and of that, 85 percent are children under the age of five” (Bamjee-Mayet ,12/2).  

Christina Vilupti-Barrineau, UAM’s campaign manager, said, “2010 is the year of football in Africa and we want to use football to engage citizens about malaria,” SAPA/IOL writes (12/2). Vilupti-Barrineau also said, “Football is religion. Footballers are heroes on this continent and across the world. When they speak, people will listen.”

According to IPS, “Governments are beginning to see how this association can work. ‘We had a meeting in Ghana with ministers and officials, and the country’s minister of sport could not attend because he was down with malaria,’ said Vilupti-Barrineau. ‘I told delegates thereafter that it was the best speech he could’ve made. After that, we had all the ministers on board, promising to sleep under bed-nets.'” The article includes quotes from Joseph-Antoine Bell, a soccer player from Cameroon who is involved with the campaign (12/2).