By Milan Kendall Shah
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Britain’s number one tennis player Andy Murray is fighting on two fronts this week – to secure his second single’s trophy at Wimbledon and to help defeat malaria, one of the biggest killers of children globally.
In a blog written exclusively for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Murray, 29, said he had learnt from experience that both of these battles require “resolute commitment and persistence”.
Murray, who has been actively involved with Malaria No More UK since 2009 along with footballer David Beckham, is sporting the charity’s logo on his sleeve at Wimbledon.
World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that an estimated 438,000 people died from malaria in 2015, a decrease from about 839,000 in 2000. UNICEF said children under the age of five accounted for about 80 percent of the deaths.
Murray said becoming a father, with the birth of his daughter Sophia in February, had made him even more determined to play a role in a renewed global push to eradicate malaria.
“It’s unthinkable, yet every day more than 800 children lose their lives because of a mosquito bite. In this day and age, this should not be happening,” Murray wrote.
Murray said malaria, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, claims a young life every two minutes but the disease was preventable.
“It costs less than a pack of tennis balls to treat and help save a life,” said the Scot who made tennis history in 2013 by becoming the first Briton in 77 years to win the Wimbledon men’s title.
Murray’s campaign at Wimbledon to get more support for the fight against malaria comes ahead of summit being held by the Global Fund in Canada in September to urge governments to commit more money to the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
“You can’t help but imagine how different things would be if you lived in parts of Africa where malaria is the number one killer of young children … we really can be the generation to make malaria no more,” said Murray.
(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)