Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has appealed for at least US$220 million from the international community to help the southern African country to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, according to media reports monitored here on Friday.Chakwera told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that the funds are needed to upgrade more than 200 treatment centres across the country as well as equip them with the necessary equipment.
“We have three critical needs, a shortage of space so we can admit the critically sick, shortage of medical supplies to treat them, as well as shortage of personal protective equipment for health workers,” he said.
The Malawian leader said finer details of the appeal would be made public by the government.
“The total financial need is really US$220m of support but the actual quantities can be found at the Malawi government Facebook page, this is truly something we need yesterday,” Chakwera said.
However, no further details had been posted on the Malawi government Facebook page at the time of going to press.
The appeal comes in the wake of this week’s death of four senior government officials, including two cabinet ministers.
It also comes as Malawi is battling a surge in COVID-19 infections, which has seen the country registering about 10,000 coronavirus cases and 275 deaths since April last year.
Chakwera described the death of Transport Minister Sidik Mia and Local Government Minister Lingson Belekanyama as “a shocking dark moment for the nation”.
Sidik and Belekanyama succumbed to coronavirus-related complications on Tuesday.
Others senior officials who also died during the week are the former governor of Malawi’s central bank, Francis Perekamoyo, and the principal secretary in the Ministry of Information, Ernest Kantchentche.