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Malaria No More UK, the British extension of a US charity that aims to prevent millions of deaths worldwide, has attracted the support of David Beckham, Andy Murray and Denise Lewis, who have been named as members of the leadership council of the new campaign.

The trio met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown this week to ensure the Government makes good on their promise to deliver 20 million life-saving malaria nets to Africa by next year. Since Brown’s pledge a year ago, the UK has delivered about 9.7 million nets to Africa, and a further 1.9 million are on order.

“It’s truly incredible to think we can stop this killer disease forever and it’s such a simple thing to do. For less than the cost of a football you can protect a family from dying,” said Beckham, “I urge the UK public to get behind the Malaria No More UK campaign to save a life and make malaria no more.”

According to the charity, despite the fact that malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, it threatens half the world’s population – killing one child every 30 seconds in Africa.

“When you think that malaria kills one child every 30 seconds and three times as many under-5s as HIV/Aids, there is a desperate need in increase our understanding and awareness of this disease,” said Sarah Kline, the charity’s executive director.

Britain’s No 1 tennis player, Andy Murray didn’t hesitate when asked to support Malaria No More UK: “This is the first global charity I’ve been involved with in this capacity and it was an easy decision. Malaria is completely preventable and stoppable but yet it still kills more children in Africa than any other single disease. We can radically change this, it is a huge opportunity and I’m urging the UK public to help save a life and get behind Malaria No More UK, a truly world-changing and life-saving initiative.”

Denise Lewis, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2000, added: “As a mother of three, finding out that pregnant women are four times more likely to contract malaria than other adults, well that really hits home. Here in the UK, malaria is not something an expecting mother needs to worry about. It shouldn’t be in Africa either, especially since malaria is a preventable disease. It’s so easy for us to make a massive difference. Buying a £5 bed net will protect a mother and her child for up to five years. The time has come for us to work together to make malaria no more.”

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