Plan International Malawi – an organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls – has disclosed that it has set aside US$2 million (approximately over K2.6 billion) for its response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.
Plan International Malawi Country Director, Phoebe Kasoga, said in an interview on Wednesday that the package will go towards the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), which will be donated to selected public health facilities in Chitipa, Lilongwe and Mulanje, among other districts.
Kasoga said her organization fears that compromised response on COVID-19 may potentially accelerate death rates among girls and women who are mostly required to perform life-threatening duties such as caring for and providing support to the sick in their communities.
“We recognize that when they go to the hospital where doctors are not able to support them because they do not have protective equipment, it means they will not be able to give them a good service. Potentially, given the COVID-19 situation, timeliness of treatment is very important,” she explained.
She disclosed that her organization has already donated protective materials worth K3.5 million to Chitedze Health Centre in Lilongwe. The donated equipment included 745 buckets, 70 N95 masks, 1 000 aprons, 10 goggles, 1 000 gloves and 200 gowns.
Kasoga said Plan International Malawi will also donate similar equipment to six more health facilities under the Lilongwe District Health Office (DHO).
The five targeted facilities are Mbavi, Area 18, Lumbadzi, Daeyang Luke Hospital, Blessings Hospital and Area 25 Health Centre.
Lilongwe District Environmental Health Officer Paul Chunga said PPE stock rate stands at 32 per cent in both public and private health facilities in Lilongwe.
“This means we have a 68 per cent shortfall on PPE in our health facilities. So, I would like to appeal to organizations and people of goodwill to emulate the good example Plan International Malawi has demonstrated by donating to these facilities so that we can save lives,” said Chunga.