The Malawi Parliamentary Committee on Health says it will engage the Minister of Finance on the need for Malawi to spend K32 billion on procurement of Covid-19 vaccines for the vaccination of 5 million people.
The Malawi Budget which was passed last week does not have allocation for Covid-19 vaccine even though Malawi has already used all doses which were donated to the country earlier this year.
Organizations led by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) yesterday delivered a petition to the Parliamentary Committee on Health to request Malawi Government to procure vaccines to supplement the doses donated under COVAX facility.
Member of the committee, Chimwemwe Chipungu, said the committee will deliver the petition to the Speaker and speak to the Minister of Finance to ask Parliament for a supplementary budget before Parliament ends its budget meting this Friday.
“The health committee needs to take action because this is very serious matter, it concerns all Malawians as they have been affected by the pandemic,” said Chipungu.
In Malawi, only 2.1 percent of the population has received at least one dose of Covid-19 with 0.2 percent having been fully vaccinated.
AHF through the Vaccinate Our World (VOW) campaign is fighting for an allocation of $40 million (about K32 billion) for the procurement of the vaccines.
AHF Program Manager for Malawi Triza Hara said they also want government to address inequalities between rural and urban areas in terms of availability of vaccines and information about the vaccines.
“We must learn from our battle against HIV that we cannot wait for years to get lifesaving vaccines and medicines to people who need them most. It’s time that heads of government, global public health organisations and pharmaceutical companies do all that’s necessary to ‘Vaccinate Our World’ now,” said Hara.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion, Health Rights activist Maziko Matemba said the campaign is important as it is urging government to take action and not to wait for donors.
He expressed concern that the rate at which Malawi is going in its vaccination programme, it would take several years to vaccinate 11 million people.
Society of Medical Doctors President Dr. Victor Mithi said it is shocking that the budget does not include money for Covid-19 considering the pandemic is one of the pressing issues Malawi is facing.
He added that, globally, decision makers must do more to make sure that all countries have the requisite number of vaccines
The ‘Vaccinate Our World’ call-to-action kicked off in mid-April with a global digital advocacy campaign and has continued with virtual media events in Bangkok, São Paulo, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Kampala, and now Malawi.
The VOW call to action is about uniting advocates worldwide and shining a spotlight on the immorality of vaccine rationing, amid concerns that African countries have received inadequate quantities of vaccine while rich countries have been able to inoculate their citizens as must as five times over.