Dentsu supports Zero Malaria campaign to ‘change the story’ around ending malaria

  • Dentsu is proud to support the launch of a new campaign - Zero Malaria: Change the Story – uplifting the voices of children to drive awareness around how climate change and extreme weather events are making malaria harder to fight and calling on world leaders to act now to save millions of children’s lives over the coming decades.
  • A new film from Grammy-award winning director Meji Alabi (Black Dog Films) sees Zero Malaria ambassadors David Beckham and 13-year-old climate finance and health champion Ellyanne Wanjiku-Chlystun share stories of how changing weather patterns are causing malaria to spread to new places, changing malaria seasons, and disrupting lifesaving malaria programmes.
  • The Zero Malaria: Change the Story campaign builds on dentsu’s longstanding pro bono partnership with Malaria No More UK and renewed $5 million commitment announced at the Kigali Summit in 2022, and broader commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SG3.
  • The creative strategy and media planning was led by dentsu Kenya and driven by teams across Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world including Brazil, UAE, Malawi, Japan, Kenya, France, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, DRC and Zambia.

Dentsu has supported the launch of a new campaign Zero Malaria: Change the Story. The global campaign is the latest in a five-year pro bono partnership involving media and creative agencies from across dentsu, aimed at ending malaria in our lifetime, a deadly disease that kills a child every minute.

The campaign calls on leaders attending COP28 to recognise the impact that climate change and extreme weather events are having on malaria. It asks governments to urgently ensure that there is adequate funding to bolster health systems and malaria programmes so that they are resilient in the face of changing climates and able to rapidly respond to extreme weather events.

Children are most affected by malaria – 78% of all malaria deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa were among children under five in 2022 - and bear the brunt of the impact that changing weather patterns are having on the disease. Yet their voices too often go unheard. Zero Malaria: Change the Story places children’s stories from some of the countries most affected by malaria, such as Mozambique and Pakistan, at the heart of the campaign.

Launching the campaign is the new Change the Story film. Directed by Grammy award-winning director Meji Alabi, the film features the newest Zero Malaria ambassador, Kenyan climate finance and health champion Ellyanne Wanjiku Chlystun, and longstanding Zero Malaria ambassador and child rights advocate David Beckham. The film tells the story of how changing weather is making malaria harder to predict and control, and the impact this is having on children around the world.

Zero Malaria: Change the Story brings together a coalition of partners from the global community fighting malaria including the World Health Organization, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance Secretariat (APLMA), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE), The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Goodbye Malaria, Impact Santé Afrique, Malaria No More (US), Malaria No More UK, Reaching the Last Mile, The United Nations Foundation and the United to Beat Malaria campaign.

The creative strategy and media planning was led by dentsu Sub-Saharan Africa with dentsu teams around the world collaborating to drive media planning across malaria endemic markets including Kenya, Brazil, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, DRC and Zambia, as well as target donor markets including UAE, Japan and France, securing approximately US $500,000 worth of free media space to date. The campaign also features illustrations and messages of hope from children all over the world, to inspire action amongst funders and policymakers. 

The campaign is part of dentsu’s ongoing commitment to Malaria No More UK, a pro bono partnership that began in 2017, and as part of dentsu’s commitment to use the power of media and advertising to drive delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG3.

In 2022, at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, dentsu renewed its commitment to end malaria by 2030 by pledging $5 million to mobilise the global youth and public with transformational communication tools. To date, dentsu has reached more than 1 billion people with campaigns calling for an end to malaria and contributed more than US $5 million to the fight.

Dawn Rowlands, Chief Executive Officer, dentsu Sub Saharan Africa, said: "Over 90% of malaria deaths happen in Sub-Saharan Africa, and this disproportionately impacts children. Whilst good progress has been made, more needs to be done. Dentsu is proud to have supported this campaign from across Sub-Saharan Africa to change the story, highlighting the connection between climate change and malaria and critically, elevating the experiences and voices of children most affected. Our media teams in Sub-Saharan Africa and across donor markets have done an excellent job in securing media that can make a difference in mobilising public and policy maker support." 

Yuko Kitakaze, Chief Sustainability Officer, dentsu Japan, said: "We're proud of our longstanding partnership with Malaria No More, through which we aim to end a disease that kills a child every minute. However, this goal is becoming harder to achieve with the threat of climate change making malaria harder to control. This latest campaign helps to profile children's voices and ensure their futures are free from malaria."

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation said: “Malaria is a leading cause of death in African children. Progress against the disease has stalled in recent years due to threats such as drug and insecticide resistance, resource constraints, humanitarian crises and insufficient coverage of core malaria control tools. With the added threat of climate change, sustainable and resilient malaria responses are needed now more than ever, coupled with urgent actions to slow the pace of global warming and reduce its effects.”

David Beckham said: “I’m proud to be supporting the Zero Malaria: Change the Story campaign, shining a light on the voices of children. The heartbreaking reality is that a child dies every minute from malaria. Children want a future that is free from deadly diseases like malaria. We owe it to them to build a stronger, safer, more resilient world”.

Ellyanne Wanjiku Chlystun, Kenyan young climate finance and health champion, said: “Every single minute a child dies from malaria. It is a terrible disease that impacts the future of young people like me, by disrupting our lives, education and opportunities. Changing weather around the world is making malaria even harder to control. As children we have a clear message; we need governments around the world to take action and invest now to end malaria within our lifetime.”