Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Health Juliana Lunguzi on Friday said that District Hospitals across the country are receiving inadequate financial funding from government which is leading to poor quality of service delivered to patients.
Lunguzi was speaking during a Health Reform Symposium Agenda meeting held on Friday in Lilongwe.
She made the remarks after the Parliamentary Health Committee made field trips to various districts in the country to appreciate quality of health service delivery.
“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,” she said
Lunguzi said due to lack of funding ambulances were not operational because of fuel problems adding that only maternal health and child health sections were prioritized when it came to using of ambulances.
“Other patients who are not in the category of maternal and child health had to put fuel in ambulances if they wanted to be transferred anywhere, this is absurd if we think of how hard finances are for people in rural areas,” she explained
She also noted that in the districts they visited there was a challenge of maintaining hospital equipments that were not functioning for example in most districts we visited Radiology equipments were not functioning, the problem being failure to maintain the equipments.
“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
Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume said his ministry is going under reformatory process and some of the challenges that the Parliamentary Committee on health raised will be addressed by the reforms.
“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.
Kumpalume commended the parliamentary committee on health for embarking on the project of field trips and he said the findings were vital to the improvement of the health sector but he was quick to note that his ministry was already aware of them.
He said the biggest challenge in the health sector was not money but rather the attitude and self discipline that health workers have.
Kumpalume said every health practitioner who misbehaves while he is still minister will be dealt with and no one will be transferred without being punished but they will be punished there and then where they are.
“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,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :