Malawi is among five African countries in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region to benefit from the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) approved $8.9 million (about K6.5 billion) grant to bolster Covid-19-related control measures.
The grant, approved by the board of directors of the pan-African bank, comes under AfDB’s Covid-19 Response Facility.
A statement from the bank, which did not indicate how much each country will access, said the money will facilitate the procurement of laboratory and medical supplies, including testing kits, personal protective gear and non-invasive ventilators in Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Sadc secretariat is the recipient and the implementing agency of the grant.
The money will reinforce Sadc capacity to coordinate pandemic response measures, including surveillance and sensitisation in the six beneficiary countries.
Reads in part the statement: “The Sadc countries have inadequate resources and capacity to effectively manage the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put a strain on already fragile health systems in the countries.
“As a result, these countries are now struggling to respond effectively to the fast-evolving situation posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Williams Banda in an interview yesterday said the support is welcome at a time government is mobilising Covid-19 response funds locally and from abroad.
“The money will go a long way to support Covid-19 mitigation measures,” he said.
As of June 4, the budget for Malawi’s National Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan was revised upwards by 61.7 percent to K157 billion from K97 billion.
Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 member, Prince Kapondamgaga, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry president and Farmers Union of Malawi chief executive officer but has been appointed State House Chief of Staff, said the initial plan excluded some priority areas such as agriculture as it predominantly focused on health.
“The national response plan budget is now at K254 billion. Now it tackles a broader spectrum; hence, the increase in the budget,” he said.
The 16-nation Sadc trade bloc had recorded about 120 000 Covid-19 cases, out of a continent-wide total of 325 000 cases as of June 24 2020.