New York, U.S.A. €“ Wednesday April 25 on World Malaria Day, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) named the United Against Malaria (UAM) campaign an official social program of the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations, being held in South Africa early next year.

Although preventable and treatable, malaria kills a child in Africa every 60 seconds. By tapping into the popularity and excitement surrounding Africa’s signature tournament, CAF and UAM have partnered to disseminate life-saving malaria prevention and treatment messages to millions of fans across the continent.

“In order for Africa to compete on the global football pitch, we must have players and communities that are free of malaria,” said Mr. Hicham El Amrani, secretary general of CAF. “We are committed to using the popularity of the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations tournament to raise awareness and increase the fight against this devastating disease.”

With CAF’s support, UAM will develop and distribute local and pan-African public service announcements (PSAs), delivered by African football stars, to educate millions of African football fans about malaria prevention and treatment. Research has shown that audiences retain and act on these messages more often when delivered by their football heroes.

“Football has the most passionate fan base in the world, and during the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations, we have an opportunity to channel that energy toward social good,” said Mr. Leodegar Tenga, executive committee member of CAF and president of the Tanzanian Football Federation. “Through our partnership with United Against Malaria, we create a platform where fans not only remember the football skill on the pitch but the important messages that will help protect them and their loved ones from malaria.”

The endorsement from CAF, which oversees the football activities of more than 50 African countries, represents an unprecedented opportunity to reach malaria-endemic populations. Building on the success of past football tournaments, such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the 2011 CECAFA Tusker Challenge Cup in Tanzania, UAM will also encourage the African private sector and political leadership to to play a greater role in stopping global malaria deaths, 91 percent of which occur in Africa.

“We are honored to have been selected as an official social cause of the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations,” said David Kyne, campaign manager of United Against Malaria. “We are so grateful to CAF for its active and ongoing support in the fight against malaria and for offering United Against Malaria such a powerful platform for improving and saving lives.”

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Image Courtesy of   Gates Foundation