The Scottish Government has provided £500, 000 (approximately K650 million) to UNICEF Malawi to support equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
Scottish Minister for International Development, Neil Gray, said in a statement that the Covid-19 pandemic remains one of the greatest challenges of time.
“It is a disease that does not recognise nations or borders, and we are well aware of the inequity in the access to Covid-19 vaccines across the world,” Gray said, adding that the partnership with UNICEF will allow them to support their partner country governments in Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda in their Covid-19 response, and will go some way to addressing vaccine inequity in Africa.
By working together on this shared challenge and helping to support equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments in our partner countries, Gray said, this funding also underlines this government’s commitment to international solidarity and to fulfilling its role as a responsible and compassionate global citizens.
The donation to UNICEF Malawi is part of a wider donation of £1.5 million, made by the Scottish Government to UNICEF, to support access to Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics in three African countries; Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.
The funding will help to strengthen Malawi’s national health system through supporting provision of oxygen supplies and procuring oxygen generation plants, initiatives that will create a sustained impact for both the Covid-19 response, and the treatment of respiratory illnesses for years to come.
The donation will also enable UNICEF Malawi to provide information about, and build confidence and acceptance of, the Covid-19 vaccines at community level – a vital part of the programme, which could reach 5.36 million people in total.
UNICEF Health Specialist for Eastern and Southern Africa, Antoinette Eleonore Ba, said countries in Eastern and Southern Africa have made great strides in tackling the pandemic, but there is still much more work to be done to support the operational planning and logistics of Covid-19 vaccine rollouts.
“Scottish Government funding will provide valuable support for UNICEF’s response in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia, including making sure communities have the information they need to access vaccines, providing supplies such as syringes for administering the vaccines and increasing cold chain capacity and oxygen provision,” she said.
Ba said all key interventions will strengthen health systems in the three countries to both help save lives now and in the future.