Minister of Health and Population Atupele Muluzi has said is rising population in the country is placing intolerable pressures on public services, especially health.
Muluzi made the remarks in Parliament on the impact of current population boom to the health delivery services.
“The health service in Malawi is under more strain today than ever before. Our population continues to grow; year on year, yet the resources available to deliver the health care we have promised our people are stretched ever tighter,” said Muluzi.
He said there is need “ to work harder” to find ways to deliver a 21st century health service that fits the needs of Malawians.
Muluzi told parliament that over the past months, his ministry has reviewed the recently announced Health Sector Strategic Plan whose main focus is towards achieving universal health coverage.
“The plan highlights the milestone achievements that my ministry has achieved over the recent years,” said Muluzi,
He said they include reduction of mortality rates for under-fives from 112 out of 1000 live births in 2010 to 63 in 2015/2016.
It also includes the reduction in infant mortality from 66 out of 1000 live births in 2010 to 42 in 2016.
Muluzi also noted that there has been decline in maternal mortality from 675 out of a population of 100,000 in 2010 to 439 in 2016.
The Minister also said following the fallout from Cash-gate financial scandal that saw many donors retreating from supporting Malawi, “through the hard work” of the President Peter Mutharika administration, supported by many NGOs and CSOs that work alongside the State, the government is “slowly rebuilding that confidence.”
He said: “To ensure that we can deliver the plan effectively, we need to be significantly more efficient with what we have, driving more value from every Kwacha invested.”
The Minister pointed out that the way in which government partner private and public healthcare in Malawi is “outdated” and as such, there is now need to review what can be achieved.
“We need to look at how we support our civil servants, police and armed forces and make provisions for employers to be able to look after their employees. Government has committed to solving this problem of which a solution can be an insurance scheme,” he said,
Muluzi talked about developing a solution that to afford a universal health care system in Malawi supported by health services that meet the medical needs of our people.
“To achieve this in a sustainable way, means being honest with ourselves about what we can afford and how we prioritise our support to individuals. We believe that we must have an honest discussion about this and not to try to score short–term political points to the longer-term cost of our economy and critically our people. The stakes are far too high,” said Muluzi.
With regards to current electricity criris, Muluzi conceded it has a real impact on the health sector.
“In the last few months, we have taken delivery of 85 solar kits that are currently being fitted to 85 health care facilities across the country. The ranging sizes are depending on the requirements of those facilities, but we will ensure that the very least we can supply lights,” he said.
Muluzi said authorities are also working on a “final solution” to establish a most sustainable off-grid power solution for the central hospitals, “ perhaps comparatively we will need to agree on the fact that we are very much dependant on these generators at the moment.”
He said the solution they are developing could provide “a credible model for a wide range of government institutions and indeed private sector facilities.”
Said Muluzi: “ At the outset, this means looking how we can reduce the load required by installing energy saving lights, more efficient air conditioning and instilling the discipline to turn off power when not required.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :