News story | Date: 26/03/2020 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein spoke on the phone today with Malawi’s Minister of Health and Population, Jappie Mhango. Norway is to contribute NOK 13.4 million for the procurement of urgently needed equipment, including personal protective equipment for health workers, in the country.
‘Minister Mhango was grateful for the opportunity this funding gives Malawi to act swiftly. This is crucial at an early stage. However, we must not forget the challenges faced by other parts of the Malawian health system, which must continue to function throughout this crisis. Through our Embassy in Lilongwe, we will continue to provide support for primary health care services throughout Malawi,’ said Mr Ulstein.
Malawi is one of Norway’s long-term partner countries for development cooperation. Health is one of the focus areas of our cooperation.
Malawi has not yet registered any cases of Covid-19, but in due course, as the virus spreads in Africa, Malawi must also expect to be affected. The health system lacks the capacity to cope with a sudden and major surge in the number of patients with respiratory symptoms.
Under an existing agreement on support for the Malawian health system, Norway is now reallocating funds to support Malawi’s initial response to Covid-19. Norway and Germany are providing the first allocation jointly, and are each contributing half of the total amount of NOK 26.8 million.
‘I visited Malawi in January this year, and saw with my own eyes how vulnerable the Malawian health system is. In this situation, it is vital to act swiftly, and that is what we are now able to do, thanks to the existing agreement on support for the Malawian health system,’ said Mr Ulstein.
Currently, Malawi only has one laboratory that is able to test for Covid-19, but a second one will be operational soon.