U.S. Government Malaria Hotline Leads to Joint Police Action in Malawi

Press Release

Lilongwe, Malawi — This week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau, and the Malawi Police Service took joint action to secure evidence of theft, diversion, and resale of U.S. Government-funded antimalarial commodities. The police action resulted from information provided through hotlines under the USAID OIG’s “Make a Difference” (MAD) Malaria campaign and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria OIG’s ‘I Speak Out Now!’ campaign.

The USAID OIG launched the MAD Malaria campaign in Malawi in April 2016, working with the U. S. Embassy and Malawi’s Ministry of Health. The launch coincided with the start of the Global Fund OIG’s campaign ‘I Speak Out Now!’ Both campaigns urge local communities across Malawi to fight back against the theft and counterfeiting of antimalarial drugs and other commodities. The MAD Malaria hotline is central to USAID OIG’s campaign, offering individuals a reward of up to $10,000 in return for usable and previously unknown information on possible theft, transportation, resale, or falsification of U.S.-funded antimalarial commodities. To date, the hotline has received dozens of  tips.

“This week’s action truly underscores the importance of the information we receive through the MAD Malaria hotline,” said USAID Inspector General Ann Calvaresi Barr. “I commend the work of our investigative team, along with our local and international partners, in pursuing hotline tips to protect these life-saving commodities.”

“This police action shows that there are consequences when you steal drugs,” said Global Fund Inspector General Mouhamadou Diagne. “The Global Fund has zero tolerance for wrongdoing in the programs it finances. We encourage all Malawians to speak out if they see drugs being stolen.”

Malaria is endemic in 95 percent of Malawi, threatening millions of lives each year. To combat the disease and help save lives, the United States has provided millions of dollars in commodities and other assistance through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund. In Malawi, U.S. Government support provides nearly all of the no-cost antimalarial drugs available to Malawians suffering from the disease.

At this time, USAID OIG specifically seeks information pertaining to the logistics, operational methods, and procedures used in the theft of U.S. Government-funded antimalarial commodities and by the suppliers of counterfeit medicine.

Any person with specific knowledge of theft or counterfeiting of antimalarial commodities in Malawi is urged to contact the MAD Malaria hotline immediately.

By telephone, call 800 00 847 (toll free)
By email, madmalariahotline@usaid.gov

Information is treated in confidence and USAID OIG protects the identity of each complainant to the maximum extent provided by law.

MAD Malaria hotlines in Nigeria and Benin also offer monetary rewards for information about the theft and counterfeiting of antimalarial commodities. Individuals in those countries are urged to report information as follows:

In Nigeria, call 8099937319 (toll free), from the Etisalat mobile network
In Benin, call 81000100 to be connected via operator to 855-484-1033 (toll free)
By email from any location, madmalariahotline@usaid.gov