Minister of Health Dr Jean Kalirani has disclosed that a 8.8 percent of the K742 billion of 2014/15 National Budget allocated to the health sector in the zero-aid budget is a result of cashgate which forced international donors to withhold aid.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) working in the public health, HIV and Aids management sector have expressed dissatisfaction with the slash of budget allocation in the budget.
“That there is a slash of budget allocation to health is true but we must read the facts in the context that we are just coming out of a period which government money was being looted,” Kalilani told journalist at Centre Office of Information in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
“The donors have withheld their aid and there is no way government could have allocated more than what it has. If you have two meters of a cloth to make a dress you can’t have one with a complicated pattern,” she said adding that government is working on a realistic budget.
The K16.2 billion health budget which covers ministry of health and, district councils and National Aids Commission has been criticized by civil society organisations for being very little.
Chairperson on Parliamentary Committee on Health Juliana Lunguzi has also joined the criticism, saying the development will greatly affect health service delivery.
She said currently the ministry has shortage of essential hospital supplies, equipment and staff houses which could have been addressed in this budget.
Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director Martha Kwataine appealed to members of Parliament [MPs] and the Ministry of Finance to to channel to the health sector the extra amount of K7 billion that has been allocated to the Ministry of Lands, Urban Development and Housing meant to introduce a pilot scheme in subsiding iron sheets and cement.
“We do not need cement and iron sheets subsidies because subsidies have already taken a lot of money in the budget in form of farm inputs.”
Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Timothy Mtambo faulted government on how it keeps on signing declarations, protocols, and conventions, but fails to conform to them.
Mtambo was referring to the Abuja Declaration which Malawi signed in 2000 alongside many of its African neighbours, making a commitment to ensure a minimum of 15 percent of its national budget would be allocated to the health sector.
Presenting the budget in Parliament, Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe acknowledged the deficit, but banked his hopes on donors who bankroll most projects in the sector.
He said “the bulk of our drug requirements is now supplied directly by the DfID and other donors. Expenditure on HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria is almost entirely covered by the Global Fund.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :