The African Development Bank (AfDB) is set to release $45.07 million to help boost the Malawi National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan by financing the government’s response to the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu confirmed the development with Nyasa Times in a telephone interview a short while ago.

The bank, through a statement issued on Thursday night and made available to Nyasa Times, says the package comprises a loan of $24.48 million, and a grant of $20.59 million as direct budget support, and complements an earlier sum of $8.9 million to six countries in the region, including Malawi, under the Bank’s COVID-19 Response grants to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries last month.

The budget support intervention, will help boost the Malawi National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan that has been developed with multi-stakeholders including government, development partners and non-government organizations.

The Acting Bank Country Manager, Eyerusalem Fasika, said the bank’s support aims to protect lives; strengthen public health systems; protect livelihoods through enhanced social protection systems; foster economic resilience and protect jobs.

“The Bank’s support to Malawi’s COVID-19 Response Plan will help to cushion the economy from the negative impact on fiscal and current account balances, hence consolidating Malawi’s recovery efforts during this unprecedented time of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fasika.

“The support will contribute towards laboratory and diagnostic capacity to test, trace, isolate and treat COVID-19 cases, strengthen the COVID-19 case management systems, train frontline healthcare workforce, and restore services disrupted by COVID-19, particularly for patients with underlying health conditions,” she added.