American Idol finalists join malaria fight

Malaria No More, a non-profit organization attempting to end malaria deaths in Africa, announced on Wednesday that it would bring former American Idol finalists to Washington to meet with members of Congress about malaria.

Jason Castro, Melinda Doolittle and Elliott Yamin, former finalists on the show, voiced support for the fight against malaria and celebrated the contributions made for the cause by the U.S. government. The performers met with members of Congress and performed at an evening reception hosted by the organization and Martha MacCallum, the co-host of America's Newsroom.

American Idol has featured malaria consistently since 2006 as part of its Idol Gives Back charity specials.

"I first learned about malaria and Malaria No More during the Idol Gives Back show and was stunned by the simple fact that, at the time, a child died every 30 seconds from malaria, a completely preventable and treatable disease," Doolittle said. "Now, five years later, a child dies of malaria every minute. And while that stat remains terribly heartbreaking, it means we're making progress and getting closer to a world where no child dies from malaria."

Since 2000, malaria rates have fallen by more than 25 percent globally and more than five percent in the previous year alone. In Africa, the decline in the number of cases is 33 percent.

"We are so grateful that these three talented artists were inspired to lend their voices and fan support to help us end malaria," David Bowen, the CEO of Malaria No More, said. "American Idol has been a great platform for celebrating U.S. leadership in the malaria fight."