President Clinton ends Malawi visit, to help fix biggest challenges

President Joyce Banda has hailed former US President Bill Clinton for, through his initiatives, helping her government overcome some of the social and economic challenges afflicting the population and continuing to get involved in the challenge of sustaining the economic gains registered so far.

The President made the remarks on Thursday after she and President Clinton toured the Kamuzu Central Hospital Laboratory, one example of the support provided by the Clinton Foundation in the health sector. This was also at the end of President Clinton and daughter Chelsea two-day visit to Malawi.

“I am pleased that the Clinton Health Access Initiative is working with the Ministry of Health to manage the reforms at the Central Medical Stores and overhaul the management of drug storage. This support will be vital to reduce the frequency and severity of drug supply issues – which as you are aware, is a crucial issue,” President Banda briefed journalists at the end of the tour.

She said the Clinton Health Access Initiative has been an important partner in the fight against of HIV/AIDS and that they have supported the Ministry of Health, District Health Officers, National AIDS Commission and many health facilities to enhance the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health.

Clinton with First Gentleman, Justice Richard Banda - retired
Clinton with First Gentleman, Justice Richard Banda – retired

“Over 1 million Malawians have benefited from their support, and for that, I am extremely grateful,” she said.

She said during their discussions with the former US President, she shared with President Clinton information about the successful piloting of the Option B+ intervention, which will bring Malawi closer to an AIDS-free generation.

She thanked him for the technical support that the Clinton Health Access Initiative provides to this successful pilot programme.

“I would also like to acknowledge the support that the Clinton Health Access Initiative is giving my Ministry of Health with our application for the next round of Global Fund proposal for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria,” said President Banda.

The President also said they discussed one new area of collaboration—renewable and clean energy as they believe that access to renewable and clean energy such as solar, wind or biomass energy in rural communities would enhance productivity of rural communities and support social wellbeing of the people.

“President Clinton and I have therefore committed our officials to mobilise support for provision of renewable and clean energy in rural communities as an integral part of the village transformation,” she said.

According to the President, the Clinton Foundation was one of the first organisations to respond to her call last year for support to transform Malawi’s agriculture sector.

“Last year in September President Clinton and I signed an MOU for a joint venture between the Clinton Development Initiative and the Presidential Initiative on Hunger and Poverty Reduction.

“Our collaboration is part of the Clinton Development Initiative’s Anchor Farm project, which today has five farms across the country. “Over 21,000 farmers have benefited from the Anchor Farm project; their incomes have increased and this is having a transformative effect on their livelihoods and communities,” said the Malawi leader.

In his remarks, President Clinton noted the strides that Malawi – a resource poor country – had been able to make with progressive policy and programme interventions.

He said there are problems everywhere in the world and the only way to resolve them is to employ the right attitude and strategies “as you are doing here”.

President Clinton hinted on plans to scale up the Anchor Farm project, to benefit many more Malawian farmers and to look at how to strengthen smallholder farmers’ linkages to domestic and export markets so that they could get better prices for their crops.

President Clinton’s daughter Chelsea thanked President Banda for hosting them and declared: “We can’t wait to come back”.

She called on Malawians and authorities to ensure women’s empowerment, saying women and girls have an important role to play in social, economic and political development of any nation.

Clinton said  he would continue to support measures to fix the southern African country’s efforts to address some of its biggest challenges in poverty reduction, healthcare and women empowerment.

He told the dancing and cheering crowd that he had been touched by the first-hand accounts of the HIV-positive families who were now able to give birth to children due to his foundation’s work.

“We are determined to fix this problem; we will fix this problem, so that you may never face this problem again,’ he said. ‘When I finish this trip, I just don’t want to remember that I have been told that 96 percent of children from HIV-positive parents were born without HIV, but remember the call by the families saying that this should be done everywhere too.”

The 42nd American president finished at an optimistic tone, saying “Your country is on the verge of something great.”

Clinton chatting with Malawians
Clinton chatting with Malawians
Clinton: Your country is on the verge of something great.’
Clinton: Your country is on the verge of something great.’
President Clinton being briefed at Kamuzu Central Hospital
President Clinton being briefed at Kamuzu Central Hospital
President Clinton with President at Kamuzu Central Hospital
President Clinton with President at Kamuzu Central Hospital

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