Global Fund has given a record US $380 million grant to Malawi government to facilitate the fight against HIV/TB and malaria, the largest allocation by the Fund to any country or institution ever.
The agreement, which was signed on Wednesday, at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, was witnessed by Malawi President Peter Mutharika and Global Fund Executive Director, Mark Dybul and several other officials from both parties.
It comes a month after the two leaders met in New York at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly where they discussed the initial technicalities of the deal.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mutharika touted the deal in regards to the improvement of service delivery that will emanate from it.
“I am confident that through this grant, millions of lives in the country will be saved,” said Mutharika while forecasting more success towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public threat by 2030.
“Undoubtedly, this will go down as the greatest gift to the people of our country from the Global Fund. As many of you already know, in the last decade, we have witnessed tremendous gains against some of the biggest killers of our people such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” said the Malawi leader.
He stressed on the deal being a record breaker which signifies the trust that global institutions have in Malawi government led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
“Today is a historic moment of global solidarity and shared responsibility for Malawi. I am pleased that we have found many ways to work together. I am confident we can find many more paths to partnerships that can bring tangible benefits to our people,” the President said.
Under the agreement, the Global Fund will give Malawi a total of US$378 million for the fight against HIV/TB and Malaria, broken down as follows: US$346 million for HIV/TB and US$32 million for the fight against malaria.
The grant comes timely in the nick of Public Service Reforms which are being implemented so as to improve service delivery by government to its citizens.
“We will galvanize bigger government investments in health. We will explore options such as a Health Fund which will bring together domestic investments from my government, the private sector and other innovative financing options,” said Mutharika.
Ambassador of the United States Virginia Palmer described the signing of the Global Fund grant as “a momentous occasion” that represents “ a giant leap forward “ in Malawi’s fight against the three diseases.
“These grants will be instrumental in setting us in the right direction towards achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
Added Palmer:“The malaria grant will drive down malaria transmission and reduce the burden of illness and deaths through strengthened diagnosis and treatment in facilities and communities throughout the country. The larger TB/HIV grant will drastically reduce the number of new infections to end the HIV epidemic and bring about a new generation that is AIDS-free in Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’.”
Jen Marshall, head of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) in Malawi, said: “There is no doubt that Global Fund resources are vital to the success of Malawi’s HIV, malaria and tuberculosis programs. These significant new resources announced today are critical for meeting the health needs of millions of Malawians, with far-reaching positive social and economic impacts.”
The DfID head in Malawi said Britain is particularly pleased that “our cumulative contribution of £3 billion to the Global Fund worldwide since 2002, has contributed to making this support to Malawi a reality. “
She said: “This is complemented here by DFID’s technical, research and community-level support for a more effective HIV response across the country.”
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, added: “Today is a historic moment of global solidarity and shared responsibility for Malawi. This new investment acknowledges the great work and commitment of Malawi. I have no doubt that Malawi’s strong leadership and commitment will lead to success.”
The agreement sets the record straight about Global Fund’s commitment to helping Malawians in averting the grave dangers and effects of HIV/TB and malaria.
Malawi has 1.1 million people living with HIV and continues to report significant progress in the fight against the disease; the total number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment has increased from 3,000 people in 2003 to 568,000 at the end of June 2015.
The southern African nation has a high burden of TB and high rate of TB/HIV co-infection. Treatment for TB for HIV-positive patients on antiretroviral treatment has increased from 40 percent in 2010 to more than 95 percent in 2014.
Malaria is endemic in Malawi and is among the major causes of mortality, with the entire population living in high transmission areas. The country aims to reduce malaria deaths by at least 50 percent of 2012 levels by 2016.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :