The Malawi government says beginning September 1, 2013; it will establish paying sections in all its major hospitals in the country to boost the hospitals’ financial muscles, Nyasa Times has learnt.
The sections, according to government sources, will be available at Kamuzu, Mzuzu and Queen Elizabeth central hospitals.
Dr. Noor Alide, Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) administrator, confirmed the development saying KCH management staff was currently working on the prices.
“Government’s intention is that we [major hospitals] should be able to fundraise independently,” Alide told a local radio.
He downplayed speculations that the development will affect the non-paying sections in terms of quality health service delivery.
“People are entitled to get the best from us,” he said.
He added: “It cannot happen. It is a constitutional obligation that we provide the best to those who come for medical attention.
“Failing to do so will mean that we’ve failed.”
Malawi’s government hospitals offer free services to the citizenry. Often times the hospitals have suffered drug and medical equipment shortages – problems that have been blamed on lack of enough funding.
But Billy Mayaya, member of Civic and Political Space Platform, told Nyasa Times the move will hurt more Malawians.
“There is need to create a consuming culture so that people have the disposable income to pay for improved service delivery in hospitals. Right now the majority of Malawians are directing their meager incomes towards hand to mouth issues of subsistence. To suddenly expect them to pay for health services with incomes they do not have is a slap in the face,” Mayaya told Nyasa Times.
“The majority of people in Malawi live in rural areas and will not be able to afford this drastic change. There is need to curb corruption in the Ministry of Health where billions of kwachas are fleeced and direct the resources to subsidizing health care service,” he added.
Malawi’s authoritative newspaper, The Nation, also wrote an editorial comment urging government to put in place measures that would ensure money made from the paying services and wards at public health institutions indeed goes towards improving delivery of health services “and not towards enriching people who only care about their pockets even where they put a number of lives at risk.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :