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Singer/actress Katharine McPhee has become a spokesperson for Malaria No More, an organization that works in partnership with various NGOs, corporations, individuals and charities on its mission to “end deaths due to malaria”.

Although death due to malaria is at an all time low according to the WHO World Malaria Report that came out in December (which summarizes data for 2010), a lack of funding could reverse this progress. Only five years away from the Millennium Development Goals deadline, 655,000 people still died from malaria in 2010.

“There remains a misconception about what [malaria] actually is and that it’s entirely preventable,” McPhee told USA TODAY. “What the message needs to be is that we can get rid of this. A 10-dollar donation for a mosquito net helps. It’s the simplest thing you can do. You can leave it up to MNM to ensure that the nets are really getting to the actual people in Africa.”

“Millions of bed nets will need replacement in the coming years,” says Dr Robert Newman, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, “and the goal of universal access to diagnostic testing and effective treatment remains far from being realized. We need to act with urgency and resolve to ensure that no-one dies from malaria for lack of a five-dollar bed net, one-dollar anti-malarial drug and a 50-cent diagnostic test.”

McPhee plans to take her MNM awareness campaign to Africa in the coming year.

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