The Grant was so unprecedented that it was announced by President Peter Mutharika. He was happy to have signed the Partnership and Acknowledgement of Grants Agreement with the Global Fund today. The President said under the Agreement, the Global Fund will provide Malawi a total of US$378 million for the fight against HIV/TB and Malaria, broken down as follows: US$346 million for HIV/TB and US$32 million for the fight against malaria.
The President said he was extremely pleased that this was the largest allocation that the Global Fund has made anywhere in the world. Which he was glad to receive from Dr. Mark Dybul, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, whom he had met just last month in New York on the side lines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Today marks a new era in the service of our people. I am confident that through this grant, millions of lives in the country will be saved. Undoubtedly, this will go down as the greatest gift to the people of our country from the Global Fund”, said the President.
The President continued to say as many of you already know, in the last decade, we have witnessed tremendous gains against some of the biggest killers of our people such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. These gains have come as a result of working in consonance with multilateral and bilateral partners. If these gains are harnessed, safeguarded and strengthened, I have no doubt that we can defeat not just these diseases but also many others that continue to afflict our people today Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, from the very beginning, health has been and shall remain a key priority for my Government.
The transformation agenda of my Government aptly speaks to this. Today is a historic moment of global solidarity and shared responsibility for Malawi. Am pleased that we have found many ways to work together. Am confident we can find many more paths to partnerships that can bring tangible benefits to our people.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me emphasize that while we have made much progress, AIDS still remain a major killer in this country. To end the AIDS epidemic as a public threat by 2030, we must rise to the occasion and commit to fast-track the end of AIDS. Our past track record attests that this is possible in our generation. Today’s function comes at a time when epidemiological intelligence shows that we are at a critical time in history in our bid to conquer Africa’s biggest killer diseases – HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
It is now, more than ever before, clear that we can defeat these diseases. Yes, we can end them. It is also clear that this will happen only if we make the necessary investments, in an efficient and effective manner. But should we take our foot off the pedal, these diseases can resurge and kill even more people than they already have.
This message is not new. It is a matter that we have grappled with since the cusp of the millennium. However, this issue is now more urgent than ever before. In Malawi, we will lead by example. We will galvanize bigger Government investments in health. It is for this reason that my Government committed to provide US$30 million over a three-year period under the “Willingness to Pay”, towards the National Response to HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
We will explore options such as a Health Fund which will bring together domestic investments from my Government, the private sector and other innovative financing options. I feel there is both a short and urgent imperative to begin immediately. My Government is committed to developing innovative ways of financing our HIV response and other health programs. I am confident that if we work hard to build on this investment by galvanizing additional domestic resources, we will be bequeathing a brilliant future to our people. It is my vision for this country.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as I conclude, I wish to challenge each one of us to recommit ourselves to the fight against the AIDS, TB and malaria epidemics. It is possible to defeat these three diseases. Other countries have done it. We can do it. If we do this, if we all fast-track our efforts to this noble goal, we will not only have saved lives and transformed our health sector, we will also have reinvigorated our economies.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “A constant theme in all our messages has been that, in this inter-dependent and globalized world, we have indeed again become the keepers of our brother and sister. That cannot be more graphically the case than in the common fight against HIV/AIDS”.
I end by calling on each one of us to be a keeper of our brother and sister. Let us do it. Let us leave here with a strong resolve to summon the will and the resources for a transformative effect in the health and lives of our people.