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UK gives Malawi K5 billion for Covid-19 response

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United Kingdom Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, has announced an additional £6 million (about K 5.3 billion) to Malawi for scaling up the country’s Covid-19 preparedness and response.

The Minister made this announcement during his visit to a warehouse facility for Covid-19 supplies in Kanengo, Lilongwe, which is managed by Unicef Malawi.

“The UK has a longstanding record of supporting countries across the globe to prepare for disease outbreaks. Covid-19 presents the biggest public health emergency in a generation.

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“With our new package of support, we will help strengthen Malawi Government’s response by doubling the number of communities that will be reached with public health surveillance, prevention and treatment services,” Duddridge said.

He said the UK itself hasn’t been spared by the pandemic.

Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, said it is the responsibility of all Malawians to defeat the virus.

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“To defeat this virus, it is up to all of us to avoid spreading it – especially by wearing face masks when we are with other people and washing our hands frequently,” Chiponda said.

She expressed gratitude to the UK government for the “timely and essential” support.

Unicef Malawi Representative, Rudolf Schwenk, said with UKAid, Unicef is developing a sustainable oxygen ecosystem which will benefit the Malawi population beyond the pandemic.

“It is clear from the Covid-19 experience that a responsive and resilient health system is more important than ever. We look forward to greater collaboration with the UK government in strengthening Malawi’s health system, for every child,” Schwenk said.

The package, through Unicef, supports the Ministry of Health’s comprehensive Covid-19 plan to procure more supplies, enhance prevention measures as well as strengthen the capacity of health facilities to supply oxygen to those seriously affected.

Earlier in March, UK provided £1.8 million to support the setting up of the national testing lab, improve screening across nine districts, setting up of six emergency treatment units, training of 200 health workers and procuring vital supplies as well as raising public awareness about the pandemic.

On Tuesday, after meeting President Lazarus Chakwera, Duddridge pledged K10 billion for supporting the anti-corruption drive in Malawi.

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