Keeping World Malaria Day in the news in a time of pandemic
How to keep World Malaria Day in the news in a time of pandemic?
World Malaria Day is an international observance commemorated every year on 25th April to recognise global efforts to control malaria. In the context of COVID-19, WMD 2020 provided us with a unique set of challenges. How could we ensure malaria still felt relevant and urgent to the global health community? How could we generate media interest when the news was dominated by COVID-19? How could we ensure the same momentum and focus around this milestone without any physical events around the world?
We created a digital campaign to spread the message and cut through the noise.
World Malaria Day 2020 became a virtual event in every sense. On social media, people around the world were encouraged to show their support for ending malaria through a ‘virtual applause’ for health workers and by posting selfies depicting a ‘0’ with their hand, in line with the annual theme: Zero Malaria Starts with Me. The messaging developed for the Day sought to show the relevance of efforts against malaria to strengthening health systems—our first line of defence against existing and emerging diseases.
In the media, new modelling data from the World Health Organization (WHO) was used to demonstrate the dire consequences if access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services was stopped, especially ahead of the rainy season. We worked with experts from partner organisations including WHO, the Global Fund and individual malaria affected countries to amplify these messages in the media. The key message that countries had a critical window to act was universally reported by outlets including Forbes, the BBC, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Devex, and Radio France Internationale, among others.
We made sure World Malaria Day got noticed...globally.