Nsanje District Health Office (DHO) is struggling to deliver quality health services to its clients following the exhaustion of 2017-2018 fuel budget last year in December.
This was revealed during the full council meeting on Monday at the boma where Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Francis Kasaila said he was aware that the DHO was struggling in terms of transportation due to lack of fuel.
Kasaila, who is also the Member of Parliament for Nsanje Central, said he was aware that an ambulance travel to Queen Elizabeth Central (QECH) hospital in Blantyre once a week to collect blood and that patients referred to QECH are failing to come back after being discharged.
“This situation is worrisome. It is incurring extra costs on people because of their prolonged stay in Blantyre,” Kasaila said.
He pointed out that the situation is even worse when a patient dies when the remains have to wait for a Friday when transport is available to be ferried to Nsanje from Blantyre.
Kasaila, therefore, suggested that the hospitality budget for the DHO estimated for the 2018/2019 financial year should be reduced to over half to cater for fuel in the next financial year.
The hospitality budget involves procurement of items like refreshments during meetings and other necessities like food for health personnel working during night shifts.
The Full Council agreed to slash the hospitality budget by 50 percent and allocate the remaining half to the budget line for fuel.
Last month, Nsanje district health office told Malawi News Agency that it has completely exhausted its fuel budget in December 2017, barely six months after the passing of the 2017/2018 financial year budget.
Available information shows that Treasury approved K27 million for fuel in the 2017-2018 financial year to Nsanje DHO, an allocation which the hospital’s spokesperson Felix Simbi said was not enough.
“We need about K6 million per month for the smooth running of the health facility. We ran out of the allocated fuel for this year because we had more referral cases to QECH and because incessant power blackouts,” Simbi said.
He said they are now using virement of resources to ensure that ambulances and diesel-powered generators are running and that they have approached other partners to assist.