Two days ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, football star and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Didier Drogba launched an animated video that tells the story of his early life in a malaria-endemic country in sub-Saharan Africa.
While global malaria mortality rates have been slashed by more than 40% since the year 2000, the disease still claims more than half a million lives every year, mostly among pregnant women and young children.
The video, co-signed by UNDP and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, shows young Didier Drogba and his friends in playing football outside their homes and fighting mosquitos that carry the malaria parasite.
“I have been a victim of malaria and have witnessed first-hand the devastating effects it has on individuals and families, luckily I was treated in time and that saved my life,” said Drogba who became UNDP Goodwill Ambassador in January 2007.
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UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said investments in malaria control directly support a country’s economic growth and human development.
“It allows the world’s most vulnerable people to live healthier and more productive lives,” said Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Executive Director of Roll Back Malaria.
Didier Drogba is the captain and all-time top scorer of the Ivory Coast national team football team. He was also voted the best all time Chelsea FC player and is currently playing for Galatasaray (Istanbul), in the Turkish league.