Malawi has battled two waves of the ongoing COVID-19 global outbreak since the first cases were reported in April 2020. It is currently in the middle of battling a third wave. In fulfilling its mandate of protecting lives of vulnerable citizens during epidemics and reducing their exposure to risk and impact through preparedness and response, and case management, the Government of Malawi has led in the development and implementation of two National Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Preparedness and Response Plans, the last of which lapsed at the end of December 2020.
This new plan has been developed to build on successes made and lessons learnt from implementation of the two initial plans and to provide a short to medium term strategic anchor against which preparedness and response plans to the corona virus disease COVID-19 epidemic in the country should focus on for the period June 2021 to June 2022. It builds on but supersedes the National Preparedness and Response Plan July 2020-December 2020; and all other national preparedness and response plans in circulation. The plan realizes the need for the interventions to move from emergency mode handling of the epidemic and its associated short term investments to more long term interventions and semi-permanent to permanent adaptable infrastructure which can be used in subsequent waves of infections, if any, or other future infectious disease outbreaks.
It defines goals; underlying principles; strategic objectives; and key strategic interventions, with a view to building resilient capacity to manage the present outbreak and to prevent, prepare for and control future surges of the same, and anticipating and preparing for other future public health emergencies. It also provides guidance on prioritizing health related interventions for the management and effective control of the COVID-19 epidemic while protecting the Malawi population from adverse social-economic effects and impacts of the epidemic.
Like others before it, this plan has been developed following a cluster system approach led by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA). However, there are now 9 (nine) operational clusters, namely: Inter-Cluster Coordination, Health, Education, Public Communication, Local Governance, Protection and Social Support, Employment and Labour Force Protection, Transport and Logistics and Security and Enforcement, as opposed to the previous 15 (fifteen) clusters. In addition, it has been informed by envisaged mandates of decentralized Councils towards the national response.
The plan will be resourced through government and partner funding. Using this plan, government will engage partners, including the United Nationals systems, and the private sector to technically and financially support the implementation of the interventions identified. The implementation of the plan is estimated to require a total of USD421,190,432 (about MK358,011,867,200).