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Mary, Martha and malaria

Richard Curtis brings a story of the fight against malaria in Africa to the cinema, starring Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn.

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By Biocat

Malaria is a disease that kills roughly 650,000 people each year. 90% of these deaths are concentrated in Africa, affecting mainly pregnant women and children under five. In recent years, however, important breakthroughs have been made in control and prevention measures, leading to a 25% drop in mortality rates around the world and 33% on the African continent. These figures allow us to consider, for the first time in history, the possibility of eradicating this disease. But this requires a collective commitment and deep political will as has been demanded again and again by various international bodies, including the Institute for Global Health of Barcelona (ISGlobal).

A good way to raise awareness of the human price of malaria and the breakthroughs towards eliminating it definitively is through the film Mary & Martha (2013) written by Richard Curtis, author of Four weddings and a funeral and Notting Hill. Starring Oscar-winner Hilary Swank and Golden Globe-winner Brenda Blethyn, the film tells the story of a voyage of two extraordinary women, one British one American, who have little in common apart from a terrible pain and a shared determination to make something positive out of their tragedy. It is a commercial film that can be seen with the family or friends and will be shown on Antena 3 (Spanish TV).

The trailer is available here

Anyone interested in receiving a copy of the film, although it is a limited edition, can send an e-mail to

Just a few days ago some twenty international experts in malaria research met in Barcelona to debate how to control the spread of this disease caused by the Plasmodium vivax parasite. The meeting was organized by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), the "la Caixa" Foundation, B·Debate and ISGlobal.

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