Letter: Aid to Malawi is not squandered

GERALD Warner’s suggestion that aid to Malawi is futile and the result of political fixation by current and former first ministers (Insight, 8 April) is a grave misrepresentation and an insult to all those Scots who have taken up the gauntlet in an attempt to help the situation in one of the world’s poorest countries.

I read Warner’s disingenuous drivel on the day my colleagues and I returned from a further foray in Malawi supporting and training Malawian health workers. To suggest that Scottish International Development Aid is directly funding the late President Mutharika’s residence, private jet or Mercedes vehicle is a complete misrepresentation of how aid passes from Scotland to Malawi.

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Projects like our one to support and train the development of the first dedicated adult emergency and trauma centre in that country receive funds directly from the Scottish Government. Scottish taxpayers’ pounds are not handed over to Malawian officials and bureaucrats as suggested in the article. There is no government to government aid passed with regards to our funds. We, at an operational level, consult with our Malawian counterparts (in our case the lead doctor and matron for the new unit) and we control every penny spent on that project. Every penny goes to support and train the nurses, clinical officers and ultimately to the direct benefit of the 1,500 to 3,000 patients that attend that unit per day.

Lord McConnell, by establishing the Scotland-Malawi Partnership in 2005, and the current First Minister for supporting it, should be praised not ridiculed. I know Scottish aid is getting to the front line and not being squandered by corrupt officials, as suggested. Mr Warner, it is time you looked at all that Scotland is doing at an operational level before you condemn.

Dr Barry Klaassen, Dundee