Malawi. European Union supports National COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign in partnership with the Humanitarian NGO community
14-10-2021 | di COOPI

Malawi. European Union supports National COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign in partnership with the Humanitarian NGO community

12 October 2021 – Lilongwe. As Malawi is recovering from its third COVID-19 wave, the European Union has provided €1.5 million in humanitarian funding to accelerate the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine deployment in the country. Project partners provide an additional €78,000.

This project is part of the EU’ humanitarian initiative in support of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa. The overall aim is to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines also reach the most vulnerable parts of the population, in countries with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems.

Funding is being channeled through two NGO Consortia working together with complementary activities to ensure data and lessons are collected and disseminated. This is assisting all partners working in these sectors. Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI) is leading the consortium of partners implementing the project in central and northern regions, while Save the Children is leading implementation in the southern Districts. Partners in these two projects include Care International, Oxfam International, Catholic Relief Services, Trócaire, GOAL, Concern Worldwide, United Purpose, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), CADECOM and the Catholic Health Commission. Digital health partners include Cooper/Smith and Viamo.

The EU-funded projects are implemented in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) and other stakeholders to address COVID-19 vaccination information and help dispel vaccination myths and misinformation. The aim is to ultimately convince eligible individuals to get the life-saving jab. With new vaccine types in addition to AstraZeneca coming into Malawi, there is a pressing need to provide people with the right information.  

The projects NGO Coalition - Supporting the rollout of Malawi’s COVID-19 national vaccination campaign are scheduled to be implemented over 12 months, in the Districts of Lilongwe Rural and Urban, Dedza, Mzimba North, Mwanza, Blantyre, Mulanje and Mangochi. Activities will also take place in the Dzaleka refugee camp and surrounding areas. The projects are estimated to benefit over 2 million people in-country. Planned activities aim to strengthen vaccination outreach teams, train vaccinators and develop district vaccination roll out plans, in addition to logistical support. Through digital technologies, the projects will also support COVID-19 national statistics to improve planning, and inform people about vaccination schedules via mobile phones.

The COVID-19 pandemic so far has infected more than 61,679 people, and killed over 2,290 Malawians (source, MoH). Therefore, we must strengthen vaccination efforts, as a means to overcome its devastating economic impacts and further deaths.

Malawi’s vaccination campaign, supported by the United Nations-led COVAX Facility, started in March 2021, but with the percentage of individuals fully vaccinated currently at 2.6%, Malawi sits at the lower end of population vaccination status across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

The Funding represents a significant step towards achieving the Government of Malawi's COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan launched on 02nd February 2021, thereby strengthening Malawi’s capacity in the fight against the global pandemic.

The Covid pandemic is having a significant toll on the health and well-being of millions of people in Malawi” said Michele Angeletti, EU Humanitarian Aid expert. “In a time when the health systems are under significant strain, the EU is providing significant assistance so that our partners, in collaboration with local authorities, can bring the vaccines to even the most remote locations.

The two Consortia leads observe:

We encourage anyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine to report to the nearest vaccination site – the vaccine is safe and it is the quicker way out of this pandemic, but everyone must do their part to protect themselves, their loved ones and the entire community. We are grateful for the support provided by the European Union, which will enable the two NGO Consortia to promote COVID-19 recovery in the country by countering misinformation, myths and rumors that are hampering uptake of immunization services and by strengthening the capacity of the health system to deliver the vaccination campaign – particularly to the poorest and most disadvantaged who are currently facing difficulties in accessing immunization services” Giuseppe Valerio, COOPI Head of Mission.

“COVID-19 vaccines are vital in the pandemic response, yet access and acceptance remain low. This support is a big boost to Malawi’s efforts towards building vaccine acceptance and suppressing transmissions,” Kim Koch, Save the Children Country Director.

Editors Notes:

About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (https://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en):

The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.

Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.

The INGO Forum’s Humanitarian Sub-Committee was established in 2019 to improve NGO coordination and collaboration in emergency response, and is currently led by Catholic Relief Services and Save the Children. Members of the committee work together to share learning, advocate for vulnerable groups in emergency response, and enhance NGO voice and engagement in humanitarian forums.