Stars unite behind voice petition to end malaria.
Hugh Laurie, Emeli Sande, Peter Capaldi, Noma Dumezweni and Ncuti Gatwa, star in a new short film to promote the world’s first voice petition to end malaria for the campaign Malaria Must Die, So Millions Can Live.

The film highlights the power of the voice to bring about lasting positive change and features poignant and memorable footage of historical icons whose voices have changed the course of history – Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Emmeline Pankhurst and Martin Luther King. These voices of the past and present are uniting to inspire urgent public and political action ahead of a critical moment for funding the malaria fight – the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Replenishment conference on 10 October in Lyon, France.

Each of the current day influencers has a personal link to malaria and many have witnessed its devastation first-hand.

Ncuti Gatwa, the Scottish actor, best known for his role as Eric Effiong in the Netflix original series Sex Education said:

“When I was younger, during the summers, my mum, my siblings and I would go to visit my father who lived and worked in Cameroon. One summer, my sister caught malaria. 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 2 minutes. Now is the time to turn up the pressure and put an end to malaria once and for all”.

Noma Dumezweni, English actress who starred as Hermione Granger in the original West End and Broadway runs of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 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. This campaign is your invitation to speak up and help save lives. With your voice, we can be the generation to end malaria forever.”

Peter Capaldi, Scottish actor, writer and director, star of Doctor Who and The Thick of It said:

“My trip to Malawi in 2015 was a life changer. I spent time in an overcrowded hospital where almost all the children had malaria. 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”.

Emeli Sande, British singer and songwriter reflects:

“On a recent trip to Uganda, I was heart-broken to see young children fighting for their lives. The horrible reality of malaria will never leave me. 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.”

The ‘Malaria Must Die’ campaign is designed to amplify the voices of those affected by malaria and give people around the world the opportunity to speak out. The Voice Petition was launched in April through a short film fronted by malaria champion David Beckham.

In the film, David appears to speak nine languages using emerging AI video synthesis technology. This second short film reiterates the campaign’s urgent call to action inviting people around the world to speak up and visit malariamustdie.com and record the message ‘Malaria Must Die’. Each voice collected via the petition will contribute to a unique piece of audio art known as a sound sculpture, grabbing the attention of leaders in a unique and memorable way.

For malaria, a poverty-related disease, the Global Fund provides almost 60% of all international financing, supporting efforts by some of the world’s poorest countries and communities to prevent, diagnose and treat it – making a successful Global Fund replenishment absolutely critical to succeed in the fight to end it.

James Whiting, CEO of Malaria No More UK, the charity convening the Malaria Must Die campaign said:

“Millions of lives hang in the balance, dependent on the replenishment of this crucial fund, which is also critical to delivering the historic commitment made in 2018 to halve malaria in the Commonwealth by 2023. Halving malaria over the next five years is a vital step towards reaching the 2030 global goals – helping to unleash the massive potential of individuals, communities and countries affected by the disease.

“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.”

Since 2000 a combination of powerful new tools increased investment and strengthened international political commitment, including from the UK, has cut malaria deaths globally by more than 60 per cent, saving almost seven million lives, mainly young children. Global efforts have also prevented more than 1.3 billion cases from developing. However, progress has stalled over recent years, which is why renewed investment and action now is so vital.