African stars join anti-malaria drive

A dozen top African musical acts in Senegal have highlighted a UN awareness campaign on malaria.

    The two-day music festival in Dakar has drawn capacity crowds

    The show is part of a two-day festival which will conclude on Sunday and aims at 

    boosting awareness of the leading fatal disease that kills an African child every 30 seconds.

    "Here, through music, we can speak to the local population about malaria prevention, while telling the outside world that we need more money, more medicine, more mosquito nets," Youssou N'Dour, a recent Grammy winner and Unicef goodwill ambassador, said.

    N'Dour, a Senegalese favourite son who won a 2005 world music Grammy for his album Egypt, took the stage early on Sunday, giving up his trademark dance sounds for tracks from his ethereal new submission.

    Charity concerts

    Africa accounts for 90% of the
    annual one million child victims

    According to the United Nations 90% of one million children who die annually from malaria are from sub-Saharan Africa.

    "Instead of a million people dying each year, it could be next to nothing," billionaire businessman Richard Branson, in Senegalese capital Dakar for the show, said.

    Branson, whose philanthropic organisations help fight malaria, added: "We can break this."

    Late Saturday night, Rokia Traore and Salif Keita wowed a 10,000-plus crowd at a soccer stadium in Dakar, with the scaling string-and-drum rhythms of their desert homeland, Mali. Orchestra Baobab, of Senegal, also played.

    The mosquito-borne parasitic disease's symptoms include fever, lethargy and aching joints. Left untreated, malaria can lead to coma and, particularly among small children, death.




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