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US injects K1.9 billion in health services

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By Wezzie Gausi:

Finance Minister Felix Mlusu and United States Ambassador to Malawi Robert Scott Tuesday signed a Government, to, Government partnership in health that will see the United States Agency for International Development (USaid) providing $2.3 million [about K1.9 billion] for salaries of 151 health, social welfare and four support staff for three years.

Under terms of the agreement, Malawi would start paying the salaried staff after the stipulated three years.

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“Our priority indicators include reducing vacancy rates, maternal, new-born and child morbidity and mortality as well as reduced HIV and TB-related morbidity and mortality.

“These priorities align with the country’s Health Sector Strategic Plan II, the Malawi Human Resources for Health Strategic Plan, the National HIV and TB Strategic Plans and Malawi’s commitment to the UN High Level targets to control TB,” Mlusu said.

He said, unlike previous support mechanisms where USaid provided technical and financial support to the government through partners such as non-governmental organisations, the support would be in the form of direct government-to-government assistance.

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Scott said the signing ceremony of the grant marked a new way of partnership.

Scott said the grant would help service providers improve the delivery of health and social welfare services in Malawi.

“Despite the ongoing commitment by the Government of Malawi to improve health for its people, the country still struggles with high rates of HIV and a high burden of maternal, infant and child deaths.

“One underlying reason is the severe shortage of trained and qualified health and social welfare professionals to deliver priority health services. So today’s agreement will be addressing this problem directly,” Scott said.

The project would be implemented in collaboration with Zomba District Council and would use the Government of Malawi’s recruitment and salary payment systems.

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