"These insects are annoying in places like the U.K. but in many parts of the world a mosquito bite is terrifying and deadly," Beckham said in a statement. Despite successes in recent years, malaria continues to kill about 445,000 people a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). "This is totally unacceptable," said Beckham, a member of Malaria No More UK's leadership council and a Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. children's agency UNICEF.
David Beckham has called for "bold action" to tackle the threat of malaria https://t.co/pgzUaFiqu5— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 7, 2018
The former England soccer captain, who retired from the game in 2013, remains a global celebrity. During his career he played as a midfielder for top clubs including Manchester United and Real Madrid. The "Malaria must die" campaign is particularly focused on pressuring leaders of countries in the Commonwealth, a 52-member grouping including Britain and most of its former colonies, to adopt policies aimed at eliminating the disease.
He's waited a while... but David Beckham's dream is finally coming true ? pic.twitter.com/IhjshMJX3k— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 29, 2018
The WHO last year warned that progress in the fight against malaria had stalled amid signs of flatlining funding and complacency that the disease was less of a threat. In its most recent World Malaria Report, the WHO said malaria infected around 216 million people in 91 countries in 2016, an increase of 5 million cases over the previous year. The vast majority of deaths were in children under the age of five in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. (Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Robert Carmichael.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)
For many people being surrounded by a swarm of mosquitos is their worst nightmare, but for millions this is a deadly reality. Let’s make sure @Commonwealth2018 leaders commit to ending malaria for good #MalariaMustDie https://t.co/CBocRbTd5p— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) February 7, 2018
Today is an exciting day for the malaria community, it is the launch of @malariamustdie. We’re proud to be joining organisations around the world to tell Commonwealth leaders to #endmalaria for good! #MalariaMustDie https://t.co/6ChHabHKZd— Malaria No More UK (@malarianomoreuk) February 7, 2018