Malawi gets K8.4bn from Norway for health sector

Malawi and  Royal Norwegian Government have signed a bilateral agreement of 180 million Norwegian Kroner (about K8.4 billion) which

will cater for the Health Sector Strategic Plan for three consecutive years.

Speaking at the signing ceremony on Tuesday in Lilongwe the Minister of Finance Dr Ken Lipenga, thanked the Norwegian government for the money, saying that the first trench of 60 Million Norwegian Kroner (about K2.8 billion) has already been given to the government of Malawi at the time of the signing.

“Norway is one of the first donors to provide support to the Health Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) in 2004, together with department for International Development (DFID) and has been committed to the principles of pooled budget support to the Government’s priorities in the health sector,” said Lipenga.

Success

He further said the SWAP Programme had achieved significantly in reducing infant mortality rate from 234 deaths per 1000 living newborn in 1992 to 112death and 982 to 675 per 100,000 births for Maternal Mortality from 2004 and 2010 among others.

The independent evaluation of the first health sector strategic plan noted the improvement in vaccination rates and the progress towards addressing the human resources constraints in the health sector.

Lipenga said they were impressed by achievement they had made with the programme adding that they scored a mark in terms of reducing the prevalence of HIV and extending treatment to 300.000 people living with HIV and AIDS.

The Minister also said they were implementing recommendations to improve procurement and strengthen the management of the Central Medical Stores activities.

Malawi's Lipenga and Jan Hakon Olsson the Norwegian Charge d'affaires sign the Bilateral Agreement .-Pic by Felix Washon/Mana

“This is the most effective way to scale-up access to health services nationwide and to ensure that the poorest have access to health services,” he explained.

The Minister added that an investment in health is an investment in broad based development.

Lipenga said the financial support from partners in health sector would enabled Malawi achieve the health related Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

The Minister also assures the Norwegian Government and Pool Partners for the health sector, that Malawi Government will remain fully committed to ensure that all the challenges that were faced during the implementation of the first Health Sector Strategic Plan were ironed out.

Priority

Speaking earlier the Norwegian Charge d’affaires Jan Hakon Olsson, said support to the health sector had been the priority since they opened their Embassy in the country in 1999.

“About one third of our development support to Malawi goes to the health sector,” said Olsson.

He added that their Embassy also supported international health organizations that were also important  in the country, like the Global Fund to combat Tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS and Malaria (GFATM) as well as the United Nations (UN) organization.

Olsson further said before the establishment of Health SWAP in 2004, his government was giving direct support to Government health institutions through Norwegian Church Aid on Health service in CHAM institutions and Institution cooperation between nursing collages in the Malawi and Norway among others.

“We have joined hands with Germany which will be the lead donor to support a pilot project on Results Based Financing of Maternal and Child Health in four districts in Malawi for three years,” added Olsson.

Since 2001 the Royal Norwegian Government has been proving support for the National Tuberculosis Programme, the National AIDS Commission and the Collage of Medicine, Banja La Mtsogolo and CHAM facilities.

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