The Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) has warned that the country’s health sector could be hit hard by the health budget cut in the proposed 2018/2019 national budget.
In the K1.5 billion proposed budget, the health sector has been allocated a chunk of 86 billion kwacha which is a significant drop as compared to the 2017/2018 budget allocation.
Speaking to YFM, a day after the presentation of the budget in Parliament on Friday, the organization’s Executive Director, George Jobe expressed worry that the move will make health services provision very hard.
“We cannot say that we are satisfied with the health budget and at the same time we would want to see the budget document in order to understand where the cut has been done.
“We don’t know where the cuts have been done. Is it on the development budget or where,”Jobe wondered.
However, Jobe commended plans to hire 1,000 medical workers as one way of addressing the problem of inadequate health personnel in public hospitals.
“We appreciate the fact that there will be 1,000 medical workers to be employed and also the assurance that from now onwards upon graduation, all the trained health workers will be recruited, I think that is good,” he said.
Jobe said it is also encouraging to note that government intends to purchase 50 ambulances in a bid to reduce the shortage of ambulances in public health facilities.
“This is good news that 50 ambulances are going to be purchased and also the guidance that only five of the 50 ambulances will go to central hospitals so it means that the central hospitals will not have a monopoly but the district hospitals and health centers will be the ones to have the ambulances.”
“I hope there will be even distribution across the districts because at the moment we have a huge shortage of ambulances,” he added.