Updated January 29, 2021
The US Government (USG) has been a crucial partner to Malawi in its fight against COVID-19 since before the first case was detected in country. The USG has provided technical and material support for testing, sanitation, and clinical care with a value totaling approximately 19 million USD. The longstanding investments that the United States also made to the health sector through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program created the foundation for Malawi’s COVID-19 response. The USG remains committed to building on the long-term bilateral relationship which aims to strengthen Malawian society and the economy so that the country can leverage a self-reliant future, beyond the pandemic.
The USG has provided support in the following areas:
Testing and Surveillance
- Laboratory support to capacitate Malawi for COVID-19 PCR testing ($795,000): : Set up 14 molecular laboratories across the country to do PCR testing, with training, procurement of supplies, and quality control. Over 118,000 tests have been conducted since March 2020.
- Health facility monitoring and surveillance for COVID-19 infection ($3,005,000): : Supported (1) the establishment of a nation-wide telephonic surveillance system, capturing information on presence of COVID-19-like syndromes and emerging hotspots to inform public health response systems; (2) an expanded national laboratory information system for COVID-19 infection, and (3) national expansion of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system to identify COVID-19 hotspots and other emerging public health threats.
- Surveys for COVID-19 infection and serology ($1,354,000):: Supporting (1) facility-based surveys to understand the prevalence of active COVID-19 infection and COVID-19 serology (past infection) among patients and health care workers, and (2) community surveys to understand community impact of COVID-19.
- Contact tracing ($740,000):: Supported mobile vans which are deployed to neighborhoods when hotspots of community transmission are identified to facilitate community-accepted testing, quarantine and isolation.
- COVID-19 Mortality Surveillance ($750,000): : Mortality surveillance will reveal the actual impact of COVID-19 in Africa, including Malawi.
- Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Support ($2.25 million):: Helped establish the EOC, located within the Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM), with supplies, personnel, outbreak response training, surveillance, data capture technology, analytics, public hotlines for enquiries, and daily briefings for the Presidential Commission and general public on the COVID-19 situation. Since March 2020, the EOC has been coordinating the national response, including investments from multiple donors.
- Mitigating spread ($4.5 million): Provided life-saving support to fight the pandemic by coordinating and identifying priority areas of investment with the Government of Malawi, international humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders; Redirected significant resources to priority response areas in the health, education, governance, and humanitarian assistance sectors.
- Strengthening District Response: Supported district health offices in 16 districts to coordinate COVID-19 response activities. Also provided training and clinical support on case management and infection prevention and control at facilities in these districts, which serve over 50% of Malawians.
- Risk Communication: USG supported design and implementation of the OSAYIDELERA COVID-19 campaign, including dissemination through the national health hotline, community radio stations, social media, and direct community engagement.
- COVID–19 screening at Points of Entry: Supported border officials with COVID-19 screening and data collection and provided supplies for infection prevention and control.
- Bwaila Hospital Upgrade: USAID has temporarily repurposed a new facility at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe as a COVID-19 ward for healthcare workers with severe COVID-19. It has 12 beds. Through the Organized Network of Services for Everyone’s Health Activity repurposed a family health clinic at Bwaila Hospital to temporarily serve as a ward for healthcare workers with severe COVID-19 symptoms in response to the Lilongwe District Health Office.
- Kasungu Hospital Upgrade: Through Partners in Health converted the Family Health Clinic at Kasungu District Hospital into a COVID emergency treatment unit (ETU).
Sanitation and PPE
- PPE and supplies ($130,000):: Delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) and humanitarian assistance donations to support the Government of Malawi’s (GOM) pandemic response efforts. Numerous projects provided the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) with PPE to enable medical treatment of civilians, supplied hygiene packs for individuals in quarantine, protected election workers and voters at polling sites during the June presidential election, and supported the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) reopening of schools with hand-washing stations in September.
- Infection prevention and control ($500,000):: Supported over 350 health facilities with infection prevention and control supplies and technical assistance.
- Procurement and distribution of COVID-19 supplies: Procured PPE, equipment and supplies for COVID-19 treatment, and COVID-19 test kits and missing accessories to support diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 cases. Also supported real-time monitoring of COVID-19 commodity stocks.
- U.S. innovators have been at the forefront of vaccine development and the United States has recently signed on to the WHO COVAX initiative.
- International CDC experts are assisting the Malawi Ministry of health with vaccine roll out planning.