‘BITE KO MAT LO LITE’ CAMPAIGN INSPIRES URGENT ACTION TO PROTECT INDIANS AGAINST DEADLY MOSQUITO-BORNE DISEASES THIS MONSOON SEASON AMIDST COVID-19


New Delhi, August 19, 2020 — A new national campaign is aiming to reach more than 200 million Indians at-risk of mosquito-borne diseases with the urgent message to take mosquito bites seriously, because they could be deadly.

Bite Ko Mat Lo Lite (“Don’t Take the Bite Lightly”) – launched this monsoon season across 21 states by Malaria No More India with partners The Times Group of India, Facebook, Star India, WPP, Sony Pictures Networks India, and entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala – is driving timely prevention, testing and treatment for malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Coinciding with World Mosquito Day, 20 August, the campaign will hold a virtual Townhall event “Bite Ko Mat Lo Lite” Panel, that will be joined by Facebook’s Managing Director, India, Mr. Ajit Mohan, Mr. Uday Shankar Chairman of Star and Disney India, Mr. Ronnie Screwvala, Co-Founder & Chairman, upGrad, Dr. Sanjeev Gaikwad, Country Director at Malaria No More India, Mr. Kamal Hassan, President, Makkal Needhi Maiam, Dr. Shriram Nene, Cardiovascular Surgeon and Healthcare Innovator and Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Actor and Producer.

The panel will be broadcast and webcast via Times Now and Mirror Now TV news channels and Facebook Live to bring awareness to the increased risk of mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases and the simple and safe actions – including prevention and seeking immediate testing and treatment in case of fever – that Indians can take to protect themselves, their families and communities. Indians can get involved and help spread the word by sharing these actions, and challenging family and friends to use a AR filter created for the Facebook and Instagram creators’ community to spread awareness about the campaign.

Uday Shankar, President, The Walt Disney Company APAC, and Chairman, Star & Disney India, who is also a Board Member at Malaria No More (MNM), said, “We are proud to support Malaria No More India and its partners and the ‘Bite Ko Mat Lo Lite’ campaign, as India moves towards eliminating malaria. We want to ensure that the country does not see a surge in malaria cases, particularly during monsoon season and while the healthcare system is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic. This campaign aims to educate people about actions they can take to ensure no one around them catches malaria. At Star India, we believe in the power of entertainment to drive positive change in society and to open up minds and hearts.”

The campaign was designed in response to a modeling by the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners in April that showed a potential doubling of malaria deaths this year if essential malaria programs are delayed or disrupted due to COVID-19 lockdowns and people not seeking timely treatment for malaria. The WHO also warned that a potential increase in cases and deaths would have significant impact on health systems overwhelmed by COVID-19.

India has made remarkable progress toward Prime Minister Modi’s goal of malaria elimination by 2030 with a 53 percent decline in malaria cases between 2016 and 2018.

Satyan Gajwani, Chairman, Times Bridge, said, “We are thrilled to be contributing to this vital campaign, alongside our partners at MNM India, Facebook, Star India, WPP India and Sony.  This commitment builds on the Times Group’s ‘#MaskIndia’ campaign. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t lose sight of other deadly risks like malaria, dengue, and chickungunya, especially during the monsoon season when risk is highest.”

Sharing his views on the nation-wide campaign, Mr. N.P. Singh, Managing Director and CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) stated: “Sony Pictures Networks India is honoured to collaborate and contribute to Malaria No More India’s public health campaign on eliminating malaria from our country by 2030. Our conscientious support and association with this cause is an endeavour to contribute to the greater common good of our community and create positive change in the society we live in.

Malaria and COVID-19 present common symptoms like fever, which is a crucial indicator for diagnosis. For malaria, which can progress rapidly and result in severe illness and death if not detected and treated early, it is essential to seek testing and treatment within 24 hours of the onset of fever. The four-month awareness campaign and call-to-action coincides with the monsoon season when mosquito breeding and infestation are at their peak, and while reducing the burden on health facilities is critical to India’s COVID-19 response.

Facebook’s Vice President and Managing Director, India, Ajit Mohan added, “At Facebook, we believe in the power of community, and this is an opportunity for all of us to come together and meaningfully contribute towards elevating awareness around mosquito borne diseases, especially malaria. At a time when the world is tackling a pandemic, it is imperative to maintain our efforts and fight against malaria, and to advance the country’s hard-earned progress against the disease. We are thankful for this opportunity to partner with Malaria No More India on online campaigns encouraging individuals, families and communities to take steps to protect themselves from this preventable but deadly disease. As part of the online campaign, we are leveraging our AR technologies through a range of Instagram and Facebook creators’ community. We have designed an AR filter for our creators’ community across the country to spread the word in a unique way. We also encourage users to use the filter and spread the word.”

Through donated creative production and ad space across media platforms from the partners, the public health campaign is aiming to reach more than 200 million Indians, and be complemented by discussions with experts about India’s progress, challenges and actions required to eliminate malaria and save lives in the context of COVID-19.

Malaria No More India Country Director Dr. Sanjeev Gaikwad said, “Working with our content and media partners, we aim to educate and equip Indians at risk of malaria, and to mobilize policy makers and business leaders to reinforce the importance of India’s historic drive to end malaria. With the country targeting malaria elimination by 2030, keeping essential health services on track during COVID is essential.”

For more information and prevention and treatment tips, please visit:https://bitekomatlolight.com/

About Malaria No More India

Malaria No More (MNM) envisions a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite. To support India’s historic drive to eliminate malaria by 2030, MNM India is working with partners at the national level to mobilize the necessary political will, funding and innovation. MNM India’s Strategic Support Unit also works at the state level, providing technical management support to the malaria programme in Odisha, once India’s state with the highest burden of malaria.

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For more information, please contact:

Malaria No More India:

Aditya Charan, MSL Group

+91 9001315980 aditya.charan@mslgroup.com

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