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UK buys emergency drugs for Malawi

02 April 2014, 12:33

Blantyre - Britain, whose aid to Malawi is frozen because of high-level government corruption, has said it will buy emergency medicines for the southern African country directly in order to bypass state systems.

"We cannot give financial aid through the government and will deliver assistance to ordinary Malawians through other means," Britain's Department for International Development said in a statement late on Monday.

International donors, which provide 40% of Malawi's budget, pulled the plug on vital aid worth around $150m last year after it emerged that millions had been siphoned off from government coffers.

Britain will buy $26m worth of drugs and other medical items directly from the suppliers and get them delivered straight to Malawi's central government medical stores.

Health and medical care

The 1 100 tons of medicines will be distributed to 600 public clinics over 18 months.

"These drugs will allow millions of ordinary Malawians to continue to get the health and medical care they need," Justine Greening, Britain's secretary of state for international development, said in the statement.

In February, a report by British auditors - commissioned by President Joyce Banda - showed that $30m had been stolen from the government within a six-month period last year.

Britain said it "remains deeply concerned by the breadth and depth of corruption revealed" in the audit.

The so-called Cashgate scheme is the biggest financial scandal in the history of the country, which heavily depends of foreign aid.

- Sapa - AFP


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