Chairperson of Parliamentary committee on health Juliana Lunguzi has bemoaned the low funding to country’s district hospitals the situation which has resulted in poor patient treatment and drug scarcity.
Lunguzi speaking during Health Reform Symposium Agenda meeting held on Friday in Lilongwe, said the low funding situation was noted her committee conducted various surveys in different district hospitals across Malawi.
“When we made the field trips to various district offices, District Health Officers were complaining of inadequate funding, For example the time we visited Salima District Hospital they had received 40
percent of the amount they are supposed to receive for their monthly allocation,” said Lunguzi.
She also said that in most hospitals ambulances were not operational because of fuel problems, adding that only maternal health and child health sections were prioritized when it came to ambulances’ usage.
“Other patients who are not in the category of maternal and child health had to contribute their own fuel for ambulances if they wanted to be transferred to referral hospitals, this is absurd if we think of the financial predicaments of people in rural areas,” she explained
Lunguzi added that the survey she took in different hospitals with the committee helped her to note some of medical equipment that were not functioning.
“Imagine a District Hospital not having an X-Ray machine because it is not functioning. Patients are being sent to private hospitals to get services that are supposed to be given to them for free but they have
to pay more than 5000 to be scanned,” she said.
However the Minister of health Peter Kumpalume said the health ministry was working on addressing the noted challenges noticed by the Parliamentary health committee.
“We have reforms currently which we have targeted until July 1 to start seeing change in the Ministry of health and the challenges highlighted by the committee will be dealt with accordingly and some of these issues are being taken care of as we speak,” he said.
“We need change of attitude and how we perceive issues. A district hospital can have funding but if the DHOs mindset is bad and corrupt the funding will never be adequate not matter how the government can try to increase the funding allocation,” said kumpalume.