Cheryl’s Got Malaria. . . but the X Factor?

Who would be a mosquito, sucking up to Cheryl Cole?

It’s funny how the most inconsequential and vacuous people can unintentionally draw attention to the most serious conditions. This week the tabloid front pages  and the internet gossip pages have been all agog at the news that lightweight celebrity Cheryl Cole of Girls Aloud and television’s X Factor fame collapsed at a photo shoot. A British nation obsessed with elevating the most mundane of talents to the highest levels swooned with faux concern. Or maybe they genuinely were worried about her. Whatever.

And then they swooned again when they learned that rather than a nasty bug from an unwashed lettuce leaf, it was the killer disease malaria that led to the gastroentereitis that toppled Cheryl. Gasp, shock and horror. How could this happen to someone so shiny and so loved? Surely Cheryl Cole couldn’t get sick like everyone else?

According to the World Health Organisation, every year, worldwide there are about 250 million malaria cases and nearly one million deaths. People living in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable.

Malaria is especially a serious problem in Africa, where one in every five childhood deaths is due to the effects of the disease. An African child has on average between 1.6 and 5.4 episodes of malaria fever each year. And every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria.

Personally I think Cheryl Cole comes across as a nice enough girl on the TV, she is probably the most attractive of Girls Aloud although the Derry wan, Nadine Coyle is clearly the best singer.

Whether or not she gets malaria is not of any real interest to me. However, it would be if now that she has had the disease she could lend her considerable celebrity weight to any measures that might help lead to its eradication.

Now that really would show that she has the X Factor.

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