Global Fund donates 76 ambulances, motorcycles and medical supplies to Malawi Government

Global Fund on Tuesday handed over 56 of the 76 fully equipped ambulances, 64 motorcycles and medical equipment to the Malawi Government to boost the country’s response to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

These ambulances, motorcycles and medical equipment have been procured with financial support from the Global Fund by Ministry of Health Global Fund through Gavi Programme Implementation Unit (PIU).

Chiponda–The donation is timely as the country is tightening preventive measures due to daily rising cases of Covid-19–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

The donation of the ambulances is a huge relief to Malawi, which recently registered a third variant of Covid-19 from India, a situation that has further strained the country’s budgetary allocation to the health system.

Speaking at handover ceremony, which took place the Capital Hill in Lilongwe, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr. Nonhlanhla Dlamini, emphasized that the donation is intended to enhance Malawi’s response to Covid-19 and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and to strengthen health and community systems.

Chiponda handing over the ignition key to one of the Catholic nuns who run CHAM hospitals–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

“We must ensure that beyond responding to the Covid-19 emergency, Global Fund Response Mechanism [C19RM) investments must lead to long-term outcomes; wherein C19RM supported health system investments must contribute to future pandemic preparedness, ensure appropriate involvement of relevant stakeholders and be aligned to plans.

“To that end, Malawi has a robust Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan with 10 pillars, which include coordination and planning, surveillance and case investigation,” among others.

Dlamini said the donated ambulances will go a long way in strengthening a timely and optimal response, not only to Covid-19, but for other health conditions as well.

The Minister of Health and Population, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, disclosed that in addition to the ambulances and motorcycles, PIU has also handed over to health facilities 54 refrigerators and four medical freezers for storage of Covid-19 samples, 1,000 clinical thermometers, 500 carrier bags for health surveillance assistants (HSAs) and 70 mattresses for Covid isolation centres.

Chiponda said the support has come at the right time when the Malawi Government is tightening preventive measures due to daily rising cases of Covid-19.

“These ambulances and equipment will help government to offer the necessary health services to prevent and contain the spread of the pandemic. The support will also ensure that health services like immunization, TB, HIV and Malaria interventions continue to be implemented within the context of Covid-19,” she said.

But the minister took a swipe at the healthcare workers whom she accused of negligence for failing to take care or maintain equipment in their possession.

Chiponda said it is regrettable that hospitals are failing to maintain even small equipment such as wheelchairs.

“We need to change our mindset. We need to take care of things we use in the hospitals. We need to relook at the maintenance budgets in the health sector,” emphasized the minister.

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