Malawi Interfaith Aids Association (MIAA) on Thursday petitioned Parliament asking them to help fixing health service system which they described as dwindling and collapsing.
Bishop Tsukuluza read the petition before presenting it to chairperson of parliamentary committee on health, Juliana Lunguzi.
“In terms of hospital equipment, the country’s health sector can as well be regarded to have collapsed,” he said.
Tsukuluza said citizens are being denied access to their health related rights because responsible authorities are failing to maintain crucial hospital equipment such as X-ray machines as a result people are not able to get treatment on time or they stand the risk of getting the wrong assistance.
According to the statement, only few qualified staff are administering HIV anti-retroviral drugs ARVs in rural areas.
MIAA also highlighted that the health sector continue to be allocated less than 15% of all government spending which is contrary to the Abuja Declaration which Malawi signed in 2000.
“Lack of adequate resources that has seriously hit public hospitals has forced authorities to offer a single meal to patients that are hospitalized in every 24 hours. This situation has seriously affected adherence to medication for the poor especially for those illnesses whose drugs require adequate food intake.”
According to the statement, Parliament should and executive should assist in cracking down corruption which is so big in the government hospitals.
“The country lacks proper policies and reinforcement procedures that should govern the certification and establishment of private clinics. The country still lacks identification cards of her citizens making it difficult to identify foreigners who access health services in the country at the expense of well deserved Malawians.”
According to the faith community, the recent National Drugs and Medication Budget Analysis which was commissioned by MIAA with support from NCA, has revealed a number of shortfalls within the operations of Government machinery that have a bearing on the challenges being faced
in access to drugs and medication.
The religious leaders says the major shortfalls include irregularities in the procurement of drugs.
Some of the irregularities include; “Recurring failure by suppliers to fulfil drug orders; Dubious ways of awarding contracts to service providers in the health sector; Low budget allocation to the health sector that fails to meet the demands of health care services in the country, Lack of mechanisms to
reinforce national budget expenditure discipline – which has a direct bearing on the effectiveness of public services delivery and unclear lines of decision making and lack of defined roles and responsibilities particularly in the health sector.”
Basing on their concern, the faith leaders have appealed to Palriament to put measures that will address and eliminate challenges in order to save many lives of poor Malawians being lost every day.
The leaders have further appealed to the responsible authorities to involve other stakeholders in the process of developing such measures and inform the public as right holders of the measures to be taken in order to improve the situation.
The religious leaders have also requested Parliament through its oversight function to government ministries and department especially the health sector to seriously attend to shortfalls.
“Parliament should review relevant policies so as to allow the Parliamentary Committee on Health to take part in the appointment of all important positions in the health sector and participate fully in
awarding of contracts in the sector.
“Parliament should allocate 15% of the national budget to the health sector in line with the obligations of the Abuja Declaration. Parliament must put measures that should be governed by law in order to strengthen certification and establishment of private clinics in this country.”
The petition also calls on government should withdraw licenses from all unqualified
medical service providers in order to address the challenges of provision of quality services, mismanagement and theft of medical equipment and drugs.
“ Government should move beyond rhetoric and begin to act on corruption particularly in the health sector,” reads the petition.
In his remarks, MIAA Executive Director, Robert Ngaiyaye, commended the committee for coming in their large number to receive the petition.
Ngaiyaye said the committee has demonstrated greater passion on issues of health in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :