Malawi and the Global Fund are strengthening their partnership by signing grants worth more than US$332 million, to expand treatment and prevention for HIV, TB and malaria and build resilient and sustainable systems for health. This brings the total Global Fund commitment to Malawi to US$616 million from 2014-2017.
The financial resources provided through the Global Fund come from many sources and partners, represented at the signing ceremony today by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Ireland and Norway, as well as technical partners such as UNAIDS and WHO.
His Excellency Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi, stated: “The grants signed here today will strengthen the Malawi government’s efforts against AIDS, malaria and TB. These diseases are leading causes of deaths, responsible for more than two in every five deaths. The grants will be key to achieving the national strategic plans for the disease control programs such as the 90-90-90 strategy for HIV and AIDS. They will be a major contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Investments through these grants will enable Malawi to provide HIV treatment for 745,000 patients by the end of 2017, which represents 70 percent of the people in need. The grants will be implemented jointly by the Ministry of Health and World Vision and ActionAid, two non-governmental organizations that have worked at grassroots level in Malawi for several decades. After a highly inclusive consultation process and renewed commitment, the two newly selected civil society organizations will implement the grants directly, strengthening the community-based response to the diseases.
“Partnership is at the center of what we do so it is very encouraging to see the wide array of partners that are here today, and that are working together to control the diseases in Malawi,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund.
The HIV and TB grants total US$298 million and the malaria grants US$34 million. Malawi has also committed US$30 million of its domestic resources for procurement of health products and to strengthen health systems.
“This is a momentous occasion and represents a giant leap forward in Malawi’s fight against the three diseases. These grants will be instrumental in setting us in the right direction towards achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals,” said Ambassador of the United States Virginia Palmer. “The malaria grant will drive down malaria transmission and reduce the burden of illness and deaths through strengthened diagnosis and treatment in facilities and communities throughout the country. The larger TB/HIV grant will drastically reduce the number of new infections to end the HIV epidemic and bring about a new generation that is AIDS-free in Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’.”
Jen Marshall, Head of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development in Malawi, said: “There is no doubt that Global Fund resources are vital to the success of Malawi’s HIV, malaria and tuberculosis programs. These significant new resources announced today are critical for meeting the health needs of millions of Malawians, with far-reaching positive social and economic impacts. The UK Government is particularly pleased that our cumulative contribution of £3 billion to the Global Fund worldwide since 2002, has contributed to making this support to Malawi a reality. This is complemented here by DFID’s technical, research and community-level support for a more effective HIV response across the country.”
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, added: “Today is a historic moment of global solidarity and shared responsibility for Malawi. This new investment acknowledges the great work and commitment of Malawi. I have no doubt that Malawi’s strong leadership and commitment will lead to success.”
The TB/HIV grants will expand testing and treatment for all people in need. They will also expand community-based approaches for HIV prevention for the general population and for key populations, as well as TB case-finding. The grants will also support the strengthening of health information systems and the supply chain for health products.
“Our work in Malawi is allowing us to reach the unreachable and we will continue to work hard to do so,” said Martha Khonje Country Director from ActionAid Malawi. “The HIV interventions supported by these Global Fund grants will help us achieve our goals of reducing AIDS and TB infections and mortality.”
The malaria grants will expand diagnosis and treatment, including for children under 5 years with a focus on hard-to-reach areas. “We are very pleased to be partnering with the Global Fund and the Ministry of Health on behalf of the government of Malawi to continue to bring services to the most remote areas of the country for sustained child well-being,” said Robert Kisyula, Country Director of World Vision Malawi.
Malawi has 1.1 million people living with HIV and continues to report significant progress in the fight against the disease; the total number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment has increased from 3,000 people in 2003 to 568,000 at the end of June 2015. Malawi has a high burden of TB and high rate of TB/HIV co-infection. Treatment for TB for HIV-positive patients on antiretroviral treatment has increased from 40 percent in 2010 to more than 95 percent in 2014.
Malaria is endemic in Malawi and is among the major causes of mortality, with the entire population living in high transmission areas. The country aims to reduce malaria deaths by at least 50 percent of 2012 levels by 2016.