Malawi Govt outlines plans to attain Universal Health Coverage

Malawi–Deputy Minister of Health and Population, Chrissie Kalamula Kanyasho, has disclosed that the Malawi Government has outlined a number of programmes to enable the country achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Kanyasho made the sentiments on Tuesday when she opened a three-day 2020/21 Joint Health Sector Annual Review meeting in Lilongwe.

The meeting, which is being held under the theme: ‘Sustaining Healthcare Gains Towards Universal Health Coverage’, has attracted representation from development partners, District Councils, District Health Offices (DHOs), chairpersons of district councils and civil society organizations (CSOs), among others.

Kanyasho said the ministry has enormous achievements in areas of tuberculosis (TB) control, malaria control and prevention, HIV and Aids fight and the fight against the novel Covid-19 pandemic.

However, she said, the health sector is still faced with a number of challenges that need to be addressed on the road to achieve the UHC goal.

“The key challenges experienced in the year under review include the following low stock levels of drugs and commodities for health service delivery; staff shortages in health facilities; inadequate village clinics/under five shelters leading to some outreach programmes being conducted in the open, mismatch between confirmed disease cases and dispensed drugs and challenges in patient follow up for multi drug resistant TB cases,” said the deputy minister.

To ensure availability of quality health infrastructure and medical equipment, Kanyasho said her ministry developed the Capital Investment Plan (CIP) 2017-2022 to guide infrastructure investments.

She said some of the prioritized projects include the National Cancer Centre, Phalombe District Hospital, Domasi Community Hospital and construction and rehabilitation of health centers and staff houses.

On shortage of staff in the health sector, Kanyasho said the ministry is working towards sealing the gap.

“Human Resources for Health remains one of the most important inputs to the health system. However, with the current staffing level at 52 percent, there is a need for concerted efforts to address the huge gap.

“The Human Resources for Health (HRH) Strategic Plan (2018-2022), with an overall purpose of guiding the health sector in the effective and efficient planning, development, management and utilisation of HRH in Malawi, has spelt out strategies in this regard,” she said.

In his remarks, the Health Donors Group chairperson, Rudolf Schwenk, commended the Malawi Government for the strides it is making in eradicating challenges affecting delivery of services in the health sector.

Meanwhile, Kanyasho has stated that the government is committed to progressively increasing its health sector financing through the fiscal budget.

Currently, development partners contribute 75 percent of the total budget of the health sector, with the Malawi Government providing 25 percent.—NyasaTimes

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