Football stars fight malaria

ZURICH - Footballers are teaming up with governments, companies and international health campaigners to push for action against malaria ahead of next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.

ZURICH - Footballers are teaming up with governments, companies and international health campaigners to push for action against malaria ahead of next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.

The "United Against Malaria" campaign, which will start next month and run until the end of the World Cup, has won the backing of singer Bono, actress Ashley Judd and philanthropist Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill.

Players such as United States national team captain Landon Donovan and the Ivory Coast team have already said they are behind the campaign, while other prominent footballers backing the movement will be revealed when the campaign is officially launched.

Malaria, which spreads through the bites from infected mosquitoes, kills nearly one million people a year, almost all in Africa where a child dies from the disease every 30 seconds.

The United Nations is trying to get universal access to diagnostic tests, mosquito nets and malaria medicine as part of its bid to cut the number of deaths to zero by 2015. - Reuters

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