Malaria fight backed by England’s football stars

malaria campaignThey came face-to-face with the risks themselves during the 2014 World Cup when doctors prescribed them malaria prevention and treatment malarone, but now he England football team have thrown their backing behind the worldwide fight against the deadly disease malaria – a disease that astonishingly claims the life of a child every thirty seconds.

Back in 2007 the England Footballer’s Foundation (EFF) was established on behalf of the England football team, after their generous decision to donate all match fees and time to chosen charities.

Since the foundation began, the EFF has helped to raise more than £3.5million, been responsible for over 150 player appearances, generated three national advertising campaigns and created exclusive EFF events.

And now England stars such as Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart have partnered with Unicef – the world’s leading children’s organisation – in an effort to raise awareness and funds about the danger that malaria poses and the absolute importance of sleeping under mosquito nets for those at risk. Those most vulnerable are the poorest children in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, in 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627 000 deaths (with an uncertainty range of 473 000 to 789 000), the majority of these being among African children.

To help launch the four-year partnership with Unicef to battle malaria, Rooney and Hart are featured in a poster, together with teammates Gary Cahill and Jack Wilshere, walking hand in hand with schoolchildren.

Globally, malaria is still the third single biggest killer of children, but sleeping under a mosquito net can help to save lives, and this is one important point that the campaign hopes to make at-risk people aware of.

A fundraising evening is taking place later today in London, which is expected to feature a number of England players, such as Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, who will be in charge of teams facing each other for the coveted EFF Charity Cup.

The Three Lions’ skipper Rooney commented on the campaign, saying: “It’s unbelievable that every 90 minutes – the time it takes to play a football match – 180 children will lose their lives to malaria. As captain of the England football team I am hugely proud that we are able to help Unicef in its goal of protecting every child in danger from this disease.”

Backing up Rooney’s comments, England goalkeeper Hart said: “I am used to defending my goal net against some of the best players in the world, but for some children, being able to sleep under a life-saving mosquito net can mean the last line of defence from this deadly disease. I have always been a huge fan of Unicef’s work so it’s really amazing that through our Foundation we can help make a difference to the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.”

Unicef UK Executive Director David Bull said: “The simplest way to keep children safe from malaria is to ensure that they sleep under a mosquito net, but many are still living without this basic life-saving need. The faces of the England football team are some of the most recognisable in the country so it is great to have them on board to help us raise awareness to tackle malaria and protect all those children in danger.”

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