U.S. singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc said on Thursday that the world must pay more attention to malaria ahead of launching a music video focusing on the disease - one of the biggest killers of children worldwide.
The 37-year-old soul artist, famous for his hit singles 'I Need a Dollar' and 'The Man', said becoming a father had given him a greater appreciation of the global push to eradicate malaria, a disease he described as "extremely terrifying".
Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills around 400,000 people a year, the vast majority of them children and babies in sub-Saharan Africa.
"As a father of a three-year-old girl and seven-month-old baby boy, I appreciate the struggle families go through in malaria affected areas," Blacc, an ambassador for the global charity Malaria No More UK, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Some 438,000 people died from malaria in 2015, a decrease from about 839,000 in 2000, according to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Blacc said he was inspired to write the song 'Live My Life', which will be released on Saturday to mark World Mosquito Day, and film a music video about the deadly impact of the disease after visiting malaria projects and a primary school in Ghana.
"I asked a classroom of kids to put their hand up if they'd been affected by malaria," he said. "I was genuinely shocked when every single pupil put their hand up."
The singer's new single and music video come ahead of a summit being held by the Global Fund in Canada in September to urge governments to commit more money to the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Last month, the African Union adopted a roadmap to eradicate the disease by 2030 following the lead of the United Nations which has set ending malaria epidemics as one of its Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
Global spending on malaria stands at $2.7 billion a year. To achieve a target of a 90 percent cut in malaria cases by 2030, spending will need to rise to $8.7 billion a year, the WHO says.
"There is not enough global attention on malaria - there are so many other causes that people are focusing on," Blacc said.
"I can't just stand by while other parents around the world suffer this injustice," he said, adding that it costs less than a coffee to treat malaria and help to save a life.