Norway gives NOK 180 million to Health Sector Strategic Plan
Last updated: 16/08/2012 //
Ever since the Royal Norwegian Embassy opened in Lilongwe in 1999, support to the health sector has been a priority. Today this accounts for about one third of Norway’s development support to Malawi, distributed both through Government and NGOs. In 2004 Norway together with British Department for International Development (DfID) were the first donors to provide support to the Health Sector Wide Approach (SWAp). Some of the achievements have been improved vaccination rates, reduction of infant and maternal mortality and extended treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS. The programme was further strengthened last week, when Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Ken Lipenga and Chargé d’affaires a.i., Mr. Jan Håkon Olsson signed a new bilateral agreement between the Norwegian Government and the Government of Malawi. The new agreement is worth NOK 180 million over three years, equivalent to MK8.4 billion.
During the signing ceremony, Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Ken Lipenga, told the audience: “On behalf of the Government and people of Malawi, I express my sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Norway for these invaluable resources and for your long-standing commitment to supporting the health sector in Malawi.” He also expressed his gratitude that the pooled Development Partners have chosen to continue to work through government systems: “This is the most effective way to scale-up access to health services nationwide and to ensure that the poorest have access to health services”. Lipenga added confidently that with the support of all partners in the health sector, Malawi will be able to achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
In his remarks, Mr. Olsson said that the Norwegian Government is very pleased to be able to continue supporting the Health SWAp. At the same time he pointed out that there are a number of significant implementation challenges in this programme and a number of risks which should not be underestimated: “Norway has decided to continue working with and through Government systems, even though we know that there is still work to be done to make these systems as robust and effective as they need to be. We are doing this because we believe that the provision of essential services such as health should be led by the Government. But we have to address the challenges and risks. The Joint Financial Agreement between Government and SWAP pool partners sets out a zero tolerance for corruption which is a precondition for our support. We expect that, working together, these risks can be reduced and the national system can be further improved.“
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