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United Nations lauds MTN for its contribution in the fight against malaria

The United Nations has lauded MTN for the role it has played in the fight against malaria in Africa by being one of the first African private sector representatives to contribute to the Global Fund’s malaria projects.

MTN’s contribution in the fight against malaria was acknowledged at the Champions of Global Health event hosted at the United Nations by the Global Fund this week.

As part of its sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, MTN joined forces with United Against Malaria (UAM) - a coalition of football stars, corporations and governments – in a bid to leverage the power of football to combat malaria. The other African corporates and partners to UAM included Nandos and Standard Bank who exploited their expertise and reach to spread the anti-malaria message.

For its part, MTN used its vast network in Africa to distribute 28 000 malaria bed nets and also utilized its technology to drive an anti-malaria awareness and education campaign.

In addition to using its extensive footprint to fight the disease, MTN was also the exclusive communications partner of the UAM expedition led by renowned explorer Kingsley Holgate that traversed nine countries in Southern and East Africa to distribute anti-malaria paraphernalia to impoverished communities and raising awareness about the disease.

Over and above the awareness and prevention initiatives that included billboards, educational fliers, SMS quizzes and TV programmes across some of its markets, MTN also donated cash to the value of R 375 000 to the Global Fund’s quest to eradicate malaria. The total is made up of R275 000 raised from a portion of gate takings generated by fans attending MTN’s two premier Fan Parks in Johannesburg (Montecasino) and Cape Town (V&A Waterfront) that hosted football fans during Africa’s first ever FIFA World Cup™. The balance, R100 000, is MTN’s contribution to the UAM Malaria bracelet campaign.

Says Mr Xolisa Vapi, MTN Group Acting Corporate Affairs Executive: “MTN welcomes the recognition by the UN and we in turn would like to thank our staff and our partners in UAM who went beyond the call of duty to make MTN’s contribution to this cause possible.

According to the Global Malaria Action Plan, malaria inflicts a heavy toll on Africa and estimates that malaria-associated expenses cost the African economy approximately $30 billion every year.

Said UAM’s David Kyne: “The funds raised during United Against Malaria’s FIFA 2010 World Cup™ campaign represent an example of how public-private partnerships can contribute to reaching the Millennium Development Goal of reducing malaria deaths to near zero by 2015. We would like to thank MTN and the other partners in the UAM coalition for their selflessness in embracing this noble campaign and throwing a much-needed lifeline to the children of the continent.”

The United Against Malaria partnership is committed to pursuing its objectives by focusing on malaria endemic countries to strengthen commitments by African leadership, encourage public-private collaboration and use football as a vehicle in driving behavioral change to prioritize malaria and help to turn the tide on malaria across the continent.

Vapi concludes: “Using the momentum achieved during this year’s FIFA World Cup South Africa™, we are committed to continuing our close cooperation with the United Against Malaria partnership across Africa’s malaria endemic countries. We will also continue utilizing our technology and communication platforms to educate communities about malaria.

www.mtn.com

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