Malawi govt backtracks on hospital user fees

The government has backtracked on plans to introduce hospital user fees with the Ministry of Health saying hat medical services in all public health facilities will remain free.

Chimbali:  No pay for hospital services

Chimbali: No pay for hospital services

Minister of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali told Nyasa Times in an exclusive telephone interview that the introduction of user fees are not part of public health reform programmes.

“What we are saying is that we have introduced by-pass fees [and not user fees] in referral hospitals in order to deconjest the facilities,” said Chimbali.

Chimbali said Ministry of Health is currently implementing health reforms in order to improve health sector and assured there will be no user fees at all government run health institutions..

He said the ministry will review the current arrangement between the Ministry and Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) saying the current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) dates back to 2002 and is well overdue for review and it needs to take into account some of the emerging issues that have taken place in our country such as the passing into law of the new Act on Public Private Partnership Agreements (PPPs) which is the basis of the arrangement between the Ministry of Health and CHAM.

Chimbali said the Ministry of Health will therefore engage CHAM once the broad principles covering the agreement have been reached within Government however the health PRO hinted that  the proposal is to work out a mechanism that will see greater access to quality health services by all Malawians especially those in rural and hard to reach areas so that the quality of life of all Malawians is improved.

He said second reform area for the Ministry of Health is that of establishing a Health Fund to support health service delivery in this country.

Chimbali said the third reform which the ministry will undertake will be to revitalize Medical Insurance Schemes in the country.

“Our plans are to have as many people as possible and those that can afford to be on a Medical Insurance scheme.  This will ensure that all those with Medical Insurances can ably access fee paying Health Services across the country using their medical insurances.

“ This will mean that people will have more options for accessing health services but also on the part of health service providers, it will mean that there is an opportunity to decongest public hospitals as some people will opt for fee paying services whereby they will use their medical insurances,” said Chimbali.

Chimbali said the ministry is weighing possibilities of extending the existing fee paying sections in public facilities so that they work side by side with non paying sections.

“The idea is to have all those without medical insurance and preferring to access free services to continue accessing public health services free while for those with medical insurances and preferring to access fee paying services sections in public facilities be able to do so.

“This system is already in existence in all Central Hospitals where they have fee paying services sections and what is being explored now is whether such fee paying services sections can also be rolled out to other public Hospitals,” said Chimbali.

Chimbali noted that the area on paying sections has created confusion among the general public and some civil society groups.

“There are assertions that Government intends to introduce user fees in the government hospitals. I must say clearly here that we do not have any intentions to ask people to pay for health services. Our proposal is to have more people on medical insurance and access paying services in public hospitals.

“We have observed the debates around this issue and we want to inform the general public that any debate that ensues on user fees is invalid and may not contribute to the final outcome of our proposed reforms,” Chimbali clarified.

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31 thoughts on “Malawi govt backtracks on hospital user fees”

  1. Jajada says:

    Zch Dental Keep It Up,mwakhwana Ngakhale Room Yachepa.

  2. Jajada says:

    Comment;ANTHU A KU ZOMBA TINAZOLOWERA ZA ULERE.KULIPIRA NDALAMA KU CHIPATALA KUTHANDIZA KUTI MANKHWALA ASAMASOWE.CHIPATALA CHA MANO CHA KU ZOMBA NCHAPAMWAMBA,MA DOTOLO AKE NDI ODZIWA NTCHITO KWAMBIRI,KOMANSO AULEMU.PITIRIZANI KUTITHANDIZA NDALAMA ZILIBE NTCHITO BOLA CHITHANDIZO,ZIKOMO.

  3. Mwendanato says:

    I ATTENDED THE SKIN CLINIC @ KCH . WHAT IS THE EXACT BY PASS FEES? IS IT MK1600 OR MK1000? THE GR I WAS GIVEN SEEMED A FAKE ONE NOT THE ONES THAT COME FROM GOVERNMENT PRINT WITH SOFT PAPER. PAYING SERVICES BOTH 2 QECH & KCH LEAVE A LOT TO BE DESIRED AND NEED RIGOROUS REVAMPING IF THEY ARE TO BE USE FRIENDLY BUT ALSO ATTRACTIVE. AVOID BY PASS GATE PLEASE AND ISSUE REAL GRS

  4. Her says:

    Very sad. Where are the systems to manage this.

  5. mgawadere says:

    Koma chamba ichi ndiye Chihana chamukhuza nchani

  6. Cocoon says:

    Yes Hospital free but prescription of medicines should be charged and should be bought anywhere at the pharmacy!! we may have drugs in hospitals for direct for doctors to treat admitted patients.

  7. wodabwa says:

    Mbambadi m’theradi MULUNGU kundisunga ndi moyo voti yanga simukanadzaiona ndithu akhakhakha a DPP inu

    1. Hestings Chivundu says:

      Atulooo Inuu!

  8. edda mwalweni says:

    You are playing with Peter’s votes my friend , shupiti , mzimu wa Chasowa ukuona, ndipo ulipo

  9. Okay? says:

    Number 1 and 3 I think DPP simukuidziwa. Musadzayerekeze kuichepysa mungadzalire chidodolido. Mungofunsa anthu atatu okha, JB, Jessie and Lazarus akuuzani kuti akatakwe amenewa a china Dausi ndi mitengo yaminga, Kweni mkati ndi super league. If you ask JB, akuuzani kuti akayang’ana ku Malawi amangoonako mdima okhaokha chifukwa chomwe analakwitsa iye nchapafupi. Kuchotsa D pa DPP ndikupanga PP basi. Ndichokhachotu basi koma eni akewo samadziwa! Meaning PP without D = failure!

  10. BigMan says:

    This is what the government said all along, so what do you mean by backtracks? It is as usual the half cooked journalists in Malawi who report things wrongly. Put it simply, if you live in Ndirande and go to Ndirande clinic, you will get your services for free, however if you decide on your own not to go to Ndirande but instead to QECH, you will pay a bypass fee for bypassing your local health facility. QECH is a referral hospital, you need to be referred to there!

  11. Matambanazo says:

    AM FOR PAYING SYSTEM>KUMUDZI AKULIPIRA KU TOWN IFEYO ANDALAMA TIKUPEZA MWAULELE

  12. Tateyo says:

    This country needs a dictator.A small health centre registers over ten births per day.What malawians know is procreation not hardworking.Lets have userfee medical care and subsidise for the needy failing which doctors will be referring patients to the private hospitals

  13. jovelyn kasondo says:

    iwe chimbali usandikwiyitse shortly u wrote an article supporting this nonsense now u sayin bypass fee wat do u mean? ndiwedi mbuzi yamunthu eti milomo yofufuma ngati bumbu lotupa

  14. tikhala says:

    At Queens, patients are paying as much as MK50,000.00 PER VISIT- LAB X-RAY, DELIVERY . They say each department should run autonomously- using 60% of the collections and 40% kaya izipita kuti?Zikudyedwa ndalama za anthu odwala!Keep uor eyes open timva hospitalgate!

  15. chikoya says:

    Nkhani ili apa ndi ya bypass fees and not user fees. Amanyuzi, why do u misinform us. nkhani ndi yakuti, if i stay at mitundu in lilongwe, i must first seek medicatn at mitundu health centre and be refrd to KCH if it is a serious ailment and not going straight to KCH even where a health centre could treat me. This is already happening in the dental sectn at all central hospitals. palibepo nkhani apa.

  16. Kenkkk says:

    My fat fingers again pressing the wrong button. Yes let me finish this. Even parliament should have been given the chance to debate before the mattter was announced.

    Please don’t rush to make important issues like these.

  17. Kenkkk says:

    Please next time consult and gather people’s reactions or responses first before making decidions. The govt should have asked the nation, should we be paying for all our health or medical treatment services? Even parliamrnt should have been given ghe chsnce ti debate on theb

  18. Native says:

    Well done . This shows the ministry of health is willing to listen to expert opinions. The scarcity of medicines in our public hospitals is brought about by two main reasons. The first reason is shortage of funds to procure medicines as budgeted by hospitals. The problem with this reason is that money is never enough, even rich countries can not afford to buy all medicines needed for every individual in there countries. The second reason for the scarcity of medicines in our hospitals is that medicines are not well managed in our public hospitals. Even if we buy all the needed medicines, if there is no expert skill to manage these expensive items there is nothing which we have done. The first problem of underfunding can be solved but will take alot of years. The second problem of mismanagement of medicines can be solved starting from now by just holding pharmacy personnel in our hospitals responsible for not discharging there skilled duties in there work place.Most public hospital pharmacies do not do inventory control, they do poor quantifications of medicines and supplies, they don’t study consumption patterns, they just don’t do much of what is required of them.

  19. All this shows how insensitive, unnational, incompetent,impractical and incompatible this government is to the welfare and needs of Malawians at large.Malawi is not Kenya or America.Apparently, it is foreign in its operations ie it does not know the true status and needs of its grass-root electorates down there.
    By the way, has it found out why patients from Nancholi or Ndirande township find themselves conjesting the District or Central referal hospitals??? Sort out the mess in the government clinics first before punishing the innocent poor electorates for your political incompetencies.Stop exploiting and politicising the plight of the poor Malawians please.Be humane or quit politics!

  20. Mac Hendy says:

    guys, musamaonjeze kusintha-sintha zinthu. muzioneka a trial and error basi.

    enafe zolipila timaziona kuti ndi zabwino. malawians are too used to free this and have become lazy and totally useless as human beings. this could have at least made some people think twice before going to the tavern

  21. Anderson Benedict Alikyfi says:

    When votes are a priority than health of the citizens. Which is better? To introduce hospital fees and have stocks of drugs or not to introduce hospital fees and have no medicines in hospitals. No wonder this government fails to differentiate between”$” and “8”

  22. matako m'mwamba says:

    Patients are paying a lot of money at Zomba General Hospital, especially dental department. No receipts are issued. Mr Phiri and his friends are enriching themselves. Minister of Health and ACB please do something before things goes out of hand. We are forced to pay considering the pain we encounter with toothache.

  23. point blank says:

    I don’t think there is anything to commend here unless you’re blind supporter. Before implementing this system, the media published a story of Governments’ intentions. Majority of the public were not in favor of the system although I for one supported the idea to be beneficial. The problem here is the system and the way it has been implemented. This trend of backtracking is very dangerous and it must not continue because come 2019 we may see similar reactions to the ones we witnessed in 2014 of sighting wrong sections in the constitution.

  24. koma Umbuli? says:

    Tichepetse kuchulukana. A malawi pangani sex in a family for pleasure and not seriously to make children. Hospital facilities have remained the same, our land has also remained the same. Forests have been depleted cause of population pressure, hospitals are flooded because of more chances of falling sick due to many factors as few have been stated.
    It is high time that we became responsible and I support paying for hospital services.
    Politicians goes to private hospitals, all they wanted was to assist you pple that sleep in hospital floors.

  25. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    Great development.
    This 180 degree turn is welcome indeed. Minister Kalirani, and the government have nothing to be ashamed of here. In fact, they should be commended, because it shows that they are willing to listen to criticism; and their ideas are not fixed, as if they were carved in stone. Bingu can, again, now rest in peace!
    The sigh of relief at Bao games is palpable, I tell you. And people’s feet are still planted in the DPP tent: Whao!
    When APM challenged ministers to come up with new revenue streams, some government officials misunderstood this to mean “by whatever way”. Wrong!
    The issue of fees-for-service in public medical facilities is one of the “third rails” in our country, abale inu. Don’t touch it, again.

  26. Sizowona,izi zikhala zabwino kwa anthu ochepa maka omwe alindimakobidi anthu amavutika ku zipatala zakumidzi madotolo osawatumiza kuzipatala zikuluzikulu choncho amangodzithaza okha kukasaka thandizo okha ndiye pakakhala fee imeneyi?kodi tsopano ndiye mwapeza mwai otiesera ife anthu osauka poti abwanawa alibenafe kanthu eti?zolakwika amangowona osalankhulapo?abwana pepani maso athu alipainu tiganizileni ndife a Malawi kwathu ife ndi kumalawi tisavutike inu mulipo dzikoli nafeso ndilathu ndithu.Ndipo iwe chimbali chonde ndiwe m’malawi usatilaule ndipo anthu oipa asakuipitse kumalawi naweso umakudziwa.

  27. EYE WITNESSES says:

    Cheap politics..all the paying sections of central hospitals are using the same staff, same medicines same everything. This only means that provision of quality care is possible in our hospitals but in non paying wards nurses and clinicians relax and watch patients die…..Shame on the system.

  28. Nam'bwibwi says:

    Hahahahah a Dpp mwaona kuti mumadzikoleka chingwe nkhosi nokha(committing suicide) komano sizikusintha kali konse pali zambiri zolakwika zomwe simutha kuzikonza ndipo mulila simunati.

  29. Maten says:

    Kani anena akalirani aja mzomwezi?try to. Make first time message clear next time.

  30. frascis sakala says:

    Useless government

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