The Scottish government has offered £500,000 (about K650 million) to support equitable access to Covid vaccines and therapeutics in Malawi.
In a statement, the Scottish government indicates that the funds would support the Covid vaccination programme and strengthen Malawi’s health system through the provision of equipment, resources and technical support.
It has made the donation to Malawi through United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) as part of its wider donation of £1.5 million, made to support access to Covid vaccines and therapeutics in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.
“The funding will help strengthen Malawi’s national health system through supporting [the] provision of oxygen supplies and procuring oxygen generation plants, initiatives that will create a sustained impact for both the Covid 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 vaccines at community level, a vital part of the programme which could reach 5.36 million people in total,” the statement reads.
The statement quotes Unicef Health Specialist for Eastern and Southern Africa Antoinette Eleonore Ba as saying there is a lot of work to be done to support operational planning and logistics of Covid vaccine rollouts.
“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 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 – all key interventions that will strengthen health systems in the three countries to both help save lives now and in the future,” he said.
Scottish Minister for International Development Neil Gray notes that Covid pandemic remains one of the greatest challenges of our 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 vaccines across the world.
“This partnership with Unicef will allow us to support our partner country governments in Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda in their response and will go some way to addressing [the problem of] vaccine inequity in Africa,” he said.