The World Cup will come to a close on Sunday, but our fight against this killer disease will continue. Despite tremendous progress that has seen death rates decreasing by more than 40% globally and almost 50% in Africa alone since 2000, almost half of the world's population is still at risk from malaria.
Malaria is obstinate. A massive effort by the international community along with the determination of committed individuals, scientists, health workers , governments, charities and other organisations have made a huge dent on its impact. Globally, cases are down 25%, deaths are down 42% since 2000 - but malaria is far from gone.
This World Malaria Day we have the opportunity to continue to dismantle malaria's grip on African households and indeed entire economies. In doing so, we will help release the potential of future generations to flourish and move our world decisively to a healthier, more stable and prosperous future.
The long-awaited sunshine enjoyed in parts of the UK this past week will no doubt have got many of us in the mood for a holiday, with some tempting last-minute deals on 'winter sun' getaways to be found. But would you be willing to jet-off to an exotic destination without the recommended vaccinations or malaria protection?
Here we are again - glued to our TV screens, revelling in the hilarious and at times toe-curling jungle trials of ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! This year's series is captivating the nation's imagination more than ever with the opening episode bursting back onto our screens with a record-breaking audience of 12million viewers. The show's popularity is all the more impactful because behind the fun and frolics in the jungle, the celebrities have united to support an important cause - Malaria No More UK.
Friday is the Day of the Girl - a moment to recognise that children, especially girls, despite their own enormous determination, often face insurmountable challenges to fulfilling their potential. They face wholly undeserved social, cultural and economic barriers. Although there are more obvious girl-specific barriers, in much of Africa malaria is one of the greatest single obstacles to the fulfilment of a girl's potential - and one of the cheapest to remedy. Not only is it one of the biggest killers of children under five (around half a million children a year in Africa), but for those who survive the bout of malaria, it can be recurrently debilitating for years afterwards.
There was some good news last week as the government has announced it will significantly increase its support for the Global Fund over the next three years - subject to other countries following its lead. The UK is doing sterling work to champion the fight against three of the world's biggest, preventable killer diseases - Aids, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. This support will enable hundreds of millions of lives to be transformed and help give families, communities and entire countries the chance to thrive and reach their potential.
On 23 September, the UK Government announced its contribution to the Global Fund and we got a step closer to the day when no child dies from Aids, TB or malaria. The UK has pledged £1billion over the next three years - providing the overall target of $15billion is met from other governments and donors.
In the past year, I've won some of the biggest matches of my career but today, I'm writing about a winnable battle I'm proud to support off court. It's the fight against malaria - one of the biggest killers on earth yet a preventable disease that we have the power to beat. The scale of malaria is staggering. It was reported that around 17 million people watched the Wimbledon final between Roger and myself last July- that's a lot of people. But I've also realised that in my lifetime - the last 26 years - far more than that number have died from malaria. Every death is needless as malaria is preventable and curable.
Like Justine Greening, I can't understand the arguments made by some against spending 0.7% of GNI to relieve suffering overseas. They should remember that 7p in every £10 is a small slice of our national income when compared with the spectre of people dying unnecessarily, living without access to education or even clean water.
David Cameron has identified other priorities for this summit - trade, tax and transparency - and will host a pre-meeting focused on world hunger. These are all vital issues, but the Prime Minister also needs to protect what has already been achieved and should encourage the G8 to deliver on past promises.
It's time for us all to act by confronting the reality that there are simple, cost-effective solutions that can make a major difference to the lives of thousands across sub-Saharan Africa. From early diagnosis to prompt treatment, anti-malaria medication and treatments to prevent malaria in pregnancies, there are direct actions that can be taken in countries across the region that will have a disproportionate impact on malaria diagnoses.
The UK will not stand on the sidelines while millions suffer from this entirely preventable and treatable disease. It's time for the international community to come together yet again and keep up their commitments. We need another decade of action against malaria. The prize could be another million lives saved.