UK gives Malawi K6 billion for COVID-19 response

Visiting UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, has announced an additional £6 million (about MWK6 Billion) to Malawi for scaling up the country’s COVID-19 preparedness and response.

The Minister made this announcement during his visit to a warehouse facility for COVID-19 supplies in Kanengo, Lilongwe, which is managed by UNICEF Malawi.

The package, through UNICEF, supports the Ministry of Health’s comprehensive COVID-19 plan to procure more supplies, enhance prevention measures as well as strengthen the capacity of health facilities to supply oxygen to those seriously affected.

This package is an addition to the £1.8m (MWK1.7 billion) of UK aid that was provided earlier in March to support the setting up of the national testing lab, improve screening across nine districts, setting up of six emergency treatment units, training of 200 health workers, and procuring vital supplies as well as raising public awareness about the pandemic.

The UK will also support the Malawi Government to expand surveillance and improve contact tracing, improve communications and coordination, procure essential supplies, strengthen acute treatment, and improve the survival of those who are severely affected by the virus.

Minister Duddridge noted that the UK has a longstanding record of supporting countries across the globe to prepare for disease outbreaks.

“COVID-19 presents the biggest public health emergency in a generation. With our new package of support, we will help strengthen Malawi Government’s response by doubling the number of communities that will be reached with public health surveillance, prevention and treatment services.

“To defeat this virus, it is up to all of us to avoid spreading it – especially by wearing a face covering when we are with other people and washing our hands frequently.”

On her part, Malawi’s Health Minister Honourable Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda expressed gratitude to the Government of the United Kingdom for the timely and essential support to people of Malawi.

“The UK itself hasn’t been spared by the pandemic but they have extended a helping hand to Malawi. This is humanity at its best. You don’t have to be in the best position to offer help”

The FCDO first mobilized funding for COVID-19 response for Malawi as early as March, before the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Malawi. The timely delivery of supplies and services, through UNICEF, strengthened the response.

UNICEF Malawi Representative, Rudolf Schwenk said: “With UK Aid, UNICEF is developing a sustainable oxygen ecosystem which will benefit the Malawi population beyond the pandemic and much into the future.  It is clear from the COVID-19 experience that a responsive and resilient health system is more important than ever. We look forward to greater collaboration with the UK Government in strengthening Malawi’s health system, for every child.”