By Sam Majamanda – Mana.
A score card report disseminated on Monday in Phalombe District has unearthed serious challenges crippling quality health services delivery in the district.
Topping the list of challenges were poor representation of health issues in the District Development Plan, poor staffing and frequent budget slashes that affect the District Health Office’s plans.
In the report whose research involved community development structure such as Village Development Committees (VDCs), Area Development Committees (ADCs), Traditional Leaders, Youth groups and Health Advisory Committees, the citizens poorly rated the health delivery system in the district, putting access to health services at 45 per cent.
In an interview about the revelations, Executive Director for Globe Hope Mobilization and member of the Universal Health Coverage Coalition in Malawi, Caleb Thole said some of the findings were shocking and needed quick ironing out.
“For instance we have just learnt that the DHO fails to reach out to many health demands by citizens of the district due to huge cuts in their initial budgets by the central government. Like this year they had budgeted an average of K60 Million per monthly activities, but the money they are receiving currently is roughly about K20 Million every month,” he said.
Thole added that this was sad especially regarding the huge population that waits to benefit from such funds.
Quick mathematics suggest that with an average budget of K19, 043, 422 (as provided by the DHO) the health department is expected to serve 429, 450 citizens of the district, translating to an average of K44.00 per citizen per month.
Director of Health Services for Phalombe, Ketwin Kondowe admitted that his office faces a lot of poor-funding-induced-challenges, failing it to reach out to Phalombe citizens with health services that fulfil the Universal Health Coverage demands.
He said apart from the above challenges, his office encounters hiccups with drug procurement at Central Medical Stores where most of the times some crucial drugs are not available thereby rendering their services irrelevant to the people’s needs.
The Universal Health Coverage is a United Nations’ agreement that UN member states shall strive to ensure that all people and communities from their states can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality and effectiveness, without the users suffering any financial hardship.