LILONGWE (Malawi News Agency) – Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) has launched distribution of COVID-19 prevention and general disasters response materials worth K1.6 billion to strengthen response interventions of both, COVID-19 and other disasters that may occur in the country.
The launch of materials distribution comes a few days after State President Lazarus Chakwera declared Malawi in a state of disaster following a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks in the country.
Minister of Health, Mrs Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda presided over the launch ceremony on Thursday in Kanengo-Lilongwe.
She said was presiding over the launch at a difficult time when the delivery of health care services was heavily compromised by COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic is continuing to cause a lot of sorrow and anxiety. After September, 2020, we hoped that we had seen the worst of COVID-19, but it is disheartening to see that it has come back and this time more aggressive,” said the minister.
Chiponda then made reference to Wednesday (January 13)’s record high COVID-19 new cases which hit 591 with 21 new deaths in a single day.
To that effect, she said it was the responsibility of everyone to prevent such records from worsening by strengthening partnerships in the fight against the pandemic
The materials to be distributed include those related to COVID-19 response and for response interventions to other kinds of disasters that may occur in the country.
According to the minister, while some materials will help to control spread of the coronavirus, others will assist in making COVID-19 patients comfortable in isolation centres.
The materials include tents, blankets, watertanks, sanitizer, toilet tissue, soap, tooth paste, surgical masks, disposable aprons, dead-body bags and shelter kits among others.
According to MRCS president Mr Innocent Majiya, the materials have been bought with funds from European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid under the project dubbed “Prevent, Control and Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic and other Disasters in Malawi”.
He said it was the role of MRCS to assist in emergencies in the country and that the launch of materials distribution was a direct response to the president’s declaration of state of disaster for Malawi on January 12, 2021.
Majiya explained that the project has three areas.
The first one is that through the items to be distributed, Ministry of Health, MRCS and other relevant humanitarian organisations will have access to large-scale emergency stock-pile of PPEs and hygiene and shelter items in Malawi.
This will help to timely respond to the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Majiya.
“The second one is to build capacity on Risk Communication and prevention measures and protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI) for MRCS staff, volunteers and stakeholders,” he said.
In the third result area, Majiya explained that MRCS will respond to any district depending on the need though initially the focus will be on Mwanza, Chikwawa, Mangochi and Karonga.
The project started in June, 2020 and will end in July, 2021.