Donors inject $33m for Malawi to buy drugs

The Governments of the United Kingdom, Norway, and Germany are pleased to announce a grant of $33 million for emergency procurement of selected essential primary health care medicines and supplies for Malawi to supplement the Government of Malawi’s purchases over a period of 18 months.

The United Nation in Malawi say the project is a result of joint collaboration between the Government of Malawi, the U.S. Government through USAID, and UNICEF.

Of the nearly $33 million being made available, the United Kingdom through the Department for International Development (DFID) will contribute about $16 million, while Norway and Germany will add $10 million and $7 million, respectively.

Health minister Kalirani: Relief

The aim of the grant is to avert shortages of essential drugs over the next 18 months and to ensure that the downward trend in morbidity and mortality among children and pregnant women is maintained.

It is also intended to prevent the health gains Malawi has made in recent years from being undermined by the unavailability of essential medicines and supplies in its hospitals and health centres.

Remarkable

Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga said it was remarkable that despite the economic crisis currently facing the world and in particular the Euro zone, the UK Government, the Government of Federal Republic of Germany and the Royal Norwegian Government had come forward with this generous contribution for the procurement of essential drugs.

“I am pleased that DFID is a partner to this project which will reduce the needless loss of life due to the national shortage of drugs, which I saw for myself during a recent visit to a hospital in Blantyre,” said Sarah Sanyahumbi, DFID Head in Malawi.

“There are complex reasons for the lack of drugs – but most of these are solvable. Hence the Government’s and Central Medical Stores’ commitment to improving the national procurement and distribution system is so important.”

Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi Asbjørn Eidhammer said his country’s support to the health sector has been a priority since the Embassy was opened in 1999.

The Head of German Development Cooperation, Hanspeter Schwaer added, “The aim of our development cooperation is to sustain and improve the livelihoods of Malawians. With the emergency procurement of drugs, we have acted swiftly on an immediate demand and in order to protect and save lives.”

Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Jean Kalilani expressed her appreciation of the initiative as it would complement the current drug stock that has been under pressure due to the ever-increasing demand for drugs and other supplies in hospitals.

The medicines and supplies will be delivered to facilities in the form of standard kits on a monthly basis, so districts will have a role to play in ensuring that stock imbalances are corrected by moving commodities as needed from low-volume to high-volume facilities.

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