Malawi Govt steps up efforts towards Universal Health Coverage attainment

The Minister of Health and Population, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, has disclosed that the construction of rural health facilities is part of the initiatives and programmes President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera-led administration has lined up to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines UHC as the ability by “all people to have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. It includes the full range of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.”

Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda Pic. By Kondwani Magombo _ Mana

Latest analysis showed that the inequality-adjusted UHC index, which was calculated as a geometric mean of the financial risk indicators and service coverage indicators, for Malawi is 69.68 percent, whereas the unadjusted UHC index is 75.03 percent.

Chiponda told Nyasa Times that the government is aware of the challenges Malawians are facing to access quality healthcare services.

She, however, emphasized that the Chakwera-led government is taking decisive steps to address the gaps in the sector.

She said after completing the construction of Chilanga Health Centre in Zomba, Nancholi Health Centre in Blantyre, and Area 23 Health Centre in Lilongwe, the government – through the Ministry of Health and Population – will construct a number of health facilities in rural communities to ensure that rural-based Malawians, too, have access to quality healthcare services.

“Beginning September 2022, my ministry will start constructing 8 new health Centres (Lunzu and Chikapa in Blantyre, Kapoka in Chitipa, Mpata in Karonga, Luvwere and Mathandani in Mzimba, Kamphenda in Rumphi and Matekenya in Dowa) and completion of 3 Health Centres (Chiponde in Lilongwe, Kanyenga in Mangochi and Chafumbwa in Ntchisi).  In addition, we will soon start constructing 55 new health posts in various rural areas in Malawi and construction of offices for the Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM),” narrated Chiponda.

The minister further stated that as part of the implementation of the Malawi Covid-19 Social Economic Recovery Plan aiming at building a resilient and sustainable health system, the government is constructing Infectious Disease Centres in Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre.

Meanwhile, Chiponda has disclosed that Malawi is responding well to the polio outbreak following the polio case, which was found in Lilongwe.

She said the Ministry of Health continues to follow up on the case and is providing physiotherapy support through Kamuzu Central Hospital.

“As a ministry, we remain vigilant by ensuring continuous and enhanced surveillance in all districts. The ministry also launched the Polio vaccination campaign and has since conducted two rounds. The response has been overwhelming and I would like to thank members of the public for that.

“I would also like to inform the public that we are going to have a third round of Polio vaccination beginning 7th of July 2022 to 10thJuly 2022 for all children under the age of 5 years. The aim of the campaign is to ensure that no child is at risk of Polio due to under-immunization or no vaccination at all with polio vaccines. I appeal for the similar overwhelming response from members of the public,” appealed Chiponda.

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