Malawi hospitals get a boost of K46 million worth of medical supplies

The Nyasa Times | September 1, 2013

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), jointly with the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has donated medical supplies, equipment, and furniture work K46 million in Malawi's public health facilities.

The Supplies to be distributed to 85 health facilities, is part of a five-year program that began in September 2012 which EGPAF is implementing in seven districts in the northern, central eastern, and central western zones of Malawi.

The program seeks to improve HIV and health services and strengthen health systems in Malawi.

Speaking at the hand-over ceremony at Nitchisi district hospital, EGPAF's country director Nicole Buono said the donation is a response to the baseline assessment which the organization conducted earlier this year in 90 heath facilities of the seven districts under the program which showed gaps in medical supplies.

The donated supplies include blood pressure apparatuses, stethoscopes, thermometers, weighing scales, and furniture.

"These are the basic medical supplies that health workers require to properly care for women, children and everyone and the supplies will enable health care workers to provide high-quality HIV and health services and properly care for pregnant women and their families," she said.

Buono also said the organization is pleased to partner with Malawi's ministry of health at all levels on the program.

"Our philosophy is not to support parallel systems and health care but to enforce the existing systems. That's why we are here. We are grateful to US government, to PEPFAR and CDC< and the Ministry of Health to have this chance and together we can improve health services and eliminate pediatric AIDS," she said.

A representative for CDC, Dr. Beth Barr, said he hopes the donation will help the health workers provide high quality services to the people of Malawi.

She said according to the World Health Organization, HIV continues to be a major global public health issue having claimed more than 25 million lives in the past 30 years.

Dr. Barr said sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most affected regions with nearly one in every 20 adults living with HIV.

She said CDC is however encouraged with the tremendous progress Malawi is making in fighting HIV.

"Although Malawi has fought this epidemic well, it is still faced with serious barriers in terms of human, financial and technical resources. The United States is committed to helping Malawi to continue its progress towards HIV-free generation," she said.

Receiving the donation Malawi's deputy minister of health, Agnes Mandebvu Chatipwa hailed EGPAF its partners in the program for the donation and appealed to the health workers to use the equipment safely and safe guard it to ensure "maximum benefit" to the communities they serve.

"Let us not forget the equipment donated has been purchased by the taxpayers of the United States government and they would want to support the Malawi government create conducive work environment for the health workers in the country. It is therefore up to us to embrace this gesture by keeping an eye on the utilization of the equine and its safe upkeep," she said.

Under the five-year project, EGPAF plans to test 1.2 million people for HIV and enroll 72,000 people on lifelong antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for HIV.

The program also aims to avert new HIV infections for 4,500 infants through provision of ARVs to 25,000 pregnant women.