The Global Fund says it supported Malawi with about $102.5 million (about K88 billion) through Covid-19 Response Mechanism to fight the pandemic.
The funding included the provision of diagnostic tests and oxygen equipment and infrastructure, according to a statement from The Global Fund which said the investment enabled Malawi to build and renovate some of the health facilities and infrastructure needed to respond to the pandemic.
The statement reads in part: “Covid-19 Response Mechanism funding also supported the recruitment of health care workers that were needed to alleviate the staff shortages at overwhelmed health facilities, and the procurement of personal protective equipment [PPE] to protect them.
“In the past, the Ministry of Health has been dependent on laboratories located in South Africa for Covid-19 sequencing, a costly and time-consuming approach as the samples had to be sent there.”
It said with support of partners, including Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Maryland Baltimore, Malawi is enhancing the National Reference Laboratory’s capacities to enable it to undertake Covid-19 sequencing.
Using low throughput machines, it said the National Reference Laboratory was able to sequence its first batch of Covid-19 samples in June 2021, which meant Malawi could initially reduce the number of samples sent to South Africa.
To ensure that testing capacity is boosted so that all sequencing of Covid-19 samples can be undertaken in Malawi, government is prioritising the procurement of additional sequencing machines with higher throughput capacities.
During a press briefing marking 20 years of The Global Fund support in Malawi in August, Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr Charles Mwansambo said Malawi had received $2 billion (about K1.6 trillion) since 2001 when the fund started supporting the country.
He said the country has in that period signed 10 grants and funds were disbursed towards the fight against HIV and Aids, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.
On TB, Mwansambo said Malawi has notified and treated over 100 000 TB cases, including 610 multi-drug resistant TB cases and 9 100 children between 2015 and 2020.