United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi Maria Jose Torres has asked government and opposition parties to work together to save lives and fight a common threat.
Torres said this on Wednesday during the launch of the K157 billion National Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan in Lilongwe
Speaking to the gathering, Torres said that people in the country should not take the pandemic for granted considering that other countries are fighting the same battle which is claiming a lot of lives.
She noted that a well-functioning health system is important to the fight against the pandemic.
“This calls for ensuring health capacity for testing, tracing, quarantining and treatment of cases, while keeping first responders safe, combined with measures to restrict movement and contact.
“This is important to prevent the disease from spreading like wildfire here in Malawi,” she said.
Torres added that government should ensure its main objective of protecting the lives of people more especially vulnerable ones living in remote areas.
She further said that people’s rights should also be protected during this crisis.
“Ignoring key human rights or marginalizing vulnerable or minority populations are likely to undermine the public health response.
“For instance, targeted measures to lessen the impact of the crisis on women are needed. Care-giving roles disproportionality fall on women and girls in the home and in the health workforce, which puts them at greater risk of infection,” she said.
The UN resident coordinator then described the launch of the National Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Response Plan as a step in the right direction to coordinate all efforts and contributions in dealing with coronavirus crisis in Malawi and preventing its escalation.
She said the main objective of this response plan is to prevent Covid-19 infections and ensure rapid detecting of cases and effectively responding to any Covid-19 outbreak to reduce loss of lives and socio-economic ramifications.
In his remarks, Minister of Health and Population Jappie Mhango said the plan is worth MWK157 billion but so far K13 billion is available, leaving a resource gap of MK 142.7 billion.
He said that in Malawi – where eight cases have been recorded – the virus may further spread to most parts of the country owing to the fact that the infected may have made contact with several people before testing positive.
“However, with concerted efforts, coupled with political will, geared private sector, untiring humanitarian efforts, we can address the gap and prevent further spread of the disease,” said Mhango.
According to the Minister, all the resources towards the implementation of the plan will be channeled to the National Disaster Appeal Fund (NDAF) account.
He assured donors and the general public that the funds will be used for their intended purpose
In Malawi, Covid-19 has claimed one life from the eight cases registered so far. Today no case has been registered.
On Wednesday morning, the World Health Organisation reported that Covid-19 cases globally have reached about 1.3 million and more than 72,000 people have lost their lives since the pandemic started.
In Africa, there have been more than 7,000 cases and over 300 deaths.