Instead of collecting signatures, a new voice campaign is harnessing ground breaking AI technology to help end malaria globally.
Dubbed Malaria Must Die, So Millions Can Live, the campaign, voiced by football legend David Beckham asks people around the world to use the power of their voice to demand action by visiting malariamustdie.com and recording the message ‘Malaria Must Die’.
David appears to speak nine languages as he invites people to add their voices to help end one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases. But the voices are not all his own. Instead, using emerging AI video synthesis technology, we hear David speaking the voices of men and women from around the world, including malaria survivors and doctors fighting the disease.
Through David, we hear nine global languages spoken and the voices of eight others, including Dr Elvis Eze, Marie Murorunkwere, Hussein Omar and Jean Bosco Niyonzima, who have survived malaria and are using their stories to help raise awareness about malaria’s devastating effects.
Each language and voice represent a part of the world affected by malaria, past or present; from the UK, which was historically affected by malaria, to China, a country on the brink of elimination, to Nigeria, where the malaria toll is the heaviest with close to 300 lives lost every day, mainly young children.
“The fight to end malaria is everyone’s fight, and operating in Southern Africa where we have some of the heaviest burden of malaria, we see first-hand the wrenching effects this disease has on our people and our communities. It is why campaigns like #MalariaMustDie are so vital. We need commitment from our global leaders, and we’ll need to use our universal voices if we are going to create an impact and be heard. It’s time to say Goodbye Malaria.” Said Sherwin Charles, co-founder and CEO of Goodbye Malaria.
The ‘Malaria Must Die’ campaign is designed to amplify the voices of those affected by malaria and gives everyone the opportunity to speak out. The voices will be delivered to world leaders ahead of critical funding decisions for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in six months’ time.
David Beckham is a founding member of Malaria No More UK Leadership Council and a long-term UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador who has seen the impact of malaria on people’s lives in countries such as Sierra Leone.
The Voice Petition is the call to action for the next phase of the Malaria Must Die campaign, launched by Malaria No More UK in February 2018 in the run up to the London Malaria Summit, that was held during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018. The Malaria Summit featured commitments worth over $4.1bn to fight malaria and was followed by a historic CHOGM commitment to halve malaria across the Commonwealth by 2023.
History shows that ending malaria is achievable with the right resources and action. 150 years ago, all countries except in Antarctica had endemic malaria within their borders. Since then half of these have now successfully eliminated malaria, most recently Paraguay and Uzbekistan who were certified malaria free in 2018. 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%, saving almost 7 million lives, mainly young children.
However, progress is not inevitable. History has also proven that malaria will return with a vengeance if not sufficiently controlled. The decisions made now by political leaders – backed by strong public support – will determine this trajectory.