MHEN decries underfunding of Health Ministry in 2013/2014 budget

Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) on Wednesday said Ministry of Health is underfunded looking at the 2013/2014 budget.

MHEN Executive Director, Martha Kwataine said this in Lilongwe during a meeting with parliamentary health committee on the use of health research evidence in policy making.

“Clearly, Ministry of Health has been underfunded. While the Minister of Finance speech did not disclose the amount of the ministry, available figures show gross underfunding,” Kwataine said.

She said the total expenditure of this year is K638.2 billion of which K42.4 billion is for heath with additional allocations for Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS and National AIDS Commission (NAC) which is K23.7 billionn makes it K66.1 billion which is 10.4 per cent of the budget.

Kwataine:  More funding for health serviices needed
Kwataine: More funding for health serviices needed

She further said the financial statement does not show any amount for support to training institutions yet Health Sciences Scholars Program (HSSP) recognizes shortage in health care works.

Kwataine added that Ministry of Water and Irrigation too is underfunded despite playing a crucial role in preventative health and much in line with thrust of HSSP.

“It has been allocated K15.7 billion as a larger part has been allocated to Irrigation department and little for drinking water in terms of drilling boreholes,” she said.

Kwataine, however, said government should consider cutting the budget for Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) and add some funds to Ministry of Health.

“There is huge investment on FISP which is K118 billion representing 18 per cent on agriculture.

“International travels has also increased from K18.2 billion for 2012/2013 to K32.8 billion for 2013/2014 budget,” Kwataine said describing it as abuse of public resource for politically driven activities as the country approaches elections

She said Members of Parliament need seriously and objectively scrutinize the national budget from taxes to allocations.

Chairperson for parliamentary committee on health, Paul Chibingu said it is time government looked at ways which could improve health services in the country.

“There are a lot of issues we need to look into. Malawi is the only country in the Sothern Africa Development Community (SADC) which is providing free health services and bad ones,” Chibingu said.—Malawi News Agency

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