Human Resources for Health (HRH) Coalition has asked government to consider increasing funding to the health sector.
Speaking in Salima on Friday during a day-long meeting aimed at lobbying for increased funding for the recruitment of health personnel, HRH chairperson Shouts Simeza said the move would curb shortage of health workers for the country to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030.
He said it was worrisome to note that there was acute shortage of health workers despite the country having qualified personnel.
Simeza, who is also National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives in Malawi (Nonm) president, said achieving UHC would remain a pipedream if government does not employ more health workers.
“In the context of Universal Health Coverage where Malawi is a member to this subscription, the budget allocation that has so far gone to the health sector for the recruitment of health workers that are supposed to provide the care, is very far from the expectation. We as a country are very far from it because our hospitals do not have enough personnel to work,” he noted.
The HRH chairperson said it was sad to note that the budget allocation to the recruitment department of the health sector is too small.
Said Simeza: “For instance, this year we have just been informed that only K500 million has been allocated to the health sector for recruitment of human resources for all cadres.
“That amount is for both the Health Service Commission that is responsible for recruitment of workers for central hospitals and for the Local Government Services Commission which is responsible for recruitment of workers for district hospitals and health centres.
“The amount is too little for the recruitment of additional workers in the health sector and that is why we wanted to engage the responsible ministry, Secretary to Treasury and budget director so that we lobby for increased funding,” Simeza added.
During a media orientation on Global Fund and Gavi programmes in Malawi, Secretary for Health Dan Namarika said the Global Fund has just approved $ 513 million for the fight against HIV, TB and malaria.
He said, among other activities, the funds would help in better service delivery through a strengthened health system and recruitment of human resources for health for facilities in the country.
Records from HRH Coalition indicate that the country has 237 medical assistants, 191 clinical technicians, 49 dental therapists and 21 optometry that are not employed.
HRH Coalition is a network of health workers and their associations and unions.
It has a membership of over 20 different health organisations nationwide.