Malawi’s proposed K157 billion National Coronavirus (Covid-19) Preparedness and Response Plan faces a K138 billion deficit as government and development partners have to date mobilised K19.5 billion for the listed activities.
In an interview on Tuesday, Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botomani said government opened a special account where well-wishers can deposit the money.
“Currently, we have K19.5 billion comprising K7.5 billion from government and K12 billion from development partners, meaning we still have a big deficit to meet the targeted budget.
“We are still asking people to contribute while we will be working something as government as well,” said the minister, who is also the official government spokesperson.
With 36 Covid-19 positive cases, including three deaths and four recoveries as of Monday this week, Malawi launched the plan on April 8 in Lilongwe. The plan showed that protection and social support is allocated a lion’s share of $124.2 million (K92.4 billion), but no funds were made available at the time.
Food security has the second biggest allocation at $22.3 million (K16.5 billion), but $44 000 (K32.7 million) was made available.
The breakdown showed that coordination has an allocation of about K332.4 million ($446 890), but K26 million ($35 000) was available while communication is allocated $1.5 million (K1.1 billion) but no tambala was provided.
Health cluster was allocated $20.7 million (K15.4 billion) and only $8.4
million (K6.2 billion) was available with water, sanitation and hygiene cluster getting $16 million (K11.9 billion), but had $570 458 (K424.4 million) available.
Other allocations without actual funds available during the launch were employment $4 million (K2.9 billion), security and enforcement $11.2 million (K8.3 billion) and transport and logistics $1.7 million (K1.2 billion).
Education was allocated $10 million (K7.4 billion) and was provided with no shortfall.
From the available K19.5 billion, some of the money was allocated to district councils for the purchase of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and administrative arrangements.
The response plan also highlights inadequate early warning and surveillance systems for many disasters, including disease outbreaks and inadequate transport and communication facilities impeding dissemination of early warning messages, rapid assessments, verifications and emergency response as some of the challenges facing Malawi.
During one of the Covid-19 situation updates, Minister of Health Jappie Mhango said 50 000 people can die in the country if the virus persists for a year.
He said a mathematical model indicated that the pandemic could affect 85 percent of the country’s population, an equivalent of 16 million people. Malawi’s population is 17.6 million, according to the 2018 Population and Housing Census conducted by the National Statistical Office.
In his address when he declared a State of Disaster in the wake of Covid-19 on March 20, President Peter Mutharika directed that K15 billion be set aside for the fight. Treasury has disbursed K7.5 billion.
To date, 700 people have been traced with about 180 samples tested at the country’s four testing laboratories. World Health Organisation (WHO) was alerted of several cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. WHO declared Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 12 2020.