U.S. govt Malaria hotline leads to joint Police action in Malawi

This week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID),  Global Fund Inspector General,  Anti-Corruption Bureau  and Malawi Police took joint action to secure evidence of theft, diversion, and resale of U.S. Government-funded anti-malaria commodities.

The police action resulted from information provided through the USAID OIG’s “Make a Difference” (MAD) Malaria campaign and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria OIG’s “I Speak Out Now!” campaign hotline.

The USAID OIG launched the MAD Malaria campaign in Malawi in April 2016, working with the United States Embassy, the Malawi Ministry of Health, and in tandem with theGlobal Fund OIG’s own campaign “I Speak Out Now!”

Both campaigns urge local communities across Malawi to fight the theft and counterfeiting of anti-malaria drugs and other commodities.

The MAD Malaria hotline is central to the campaign, offering individuals rewards up to $10,000 in return for usable and previously unknown information on possible theft, transportation, resale, or falsification of U.S.-funded anti-malaria commodities.

To date, the hotline has received dozens of tips.

“This week’s action truly underscores the importance of the information we receive through the MAD Malaria hotline,” said USAID Inspector General Ann Calvaresi Barr.

“I commend the work of our investigative team, along with our local and international partners, in pursuing hotline tips to protect these life-saving commodities.”

“This police action shows that there are consequences when you steal drugs”, said Global Fund Inspector General Mouhamadou Diagne. “The Global Fund has zero tolerance for wrongdoing in the programs it finances. We encourage all Malawians to speak out if they see drugs being stolen.”

Malaria is endemic in 95 percent of Malawi, threatening millions of lives each year.

To combat the disease and help save lives, the United States has provided over $200 million in commodities and other assistance in Malawi through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

In Malawi, the U.S. Government provides nearly all of the no cost anti-malaria drugs available to Malawians suffering from the disease.

This week’s joint action will help ensure that thousands of Malawians maintain no cost access to this life-saving medicine.

Any individual with specific knowledge of theft or counterfeiting of antimalarial commodities is urged to contact the MAD Malaria hotline immediately.

All information will be kept confidential, assured the US.  Information sought pertains to the logistics, operational methods, and procedures used in the theft of U.S. Government-funded anti-malaria commodities, and by suppliers of fake medicine.

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