Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has drilled community structures in Karonga to track public expenditure on health resources.
Speaking on Monday at Mwenilondo in the district, CHRR project coordinator Modester Ramundi said they wanted to train health management and area development committees on how to use the Access to Information Law to access information on health budget and expenditure.
She said: “These committees are critical when it comes to checks and balances on public resources.
“Therefore, we have equipped them with skills on how to use the Access to Information law to demand how money meant for the health sector is used at district level.”
Ramundi also asked community members to be proactive and demand Covid-19 vaccines to avoid expiry of the jabs.
However, the meeting, which was attended by health management and area development committees from Katili and Mwenilondo, reignited the debate on lack of transparency and accountability on the recently launched staff house project at Mwenilondo Health Centre.
Mwangolera Village Development Committee vice-chairperson Caroline Ndovie said the K21 million District Development Fund (DDF)-funded project flouted procedures as there was no channel on the identification of the local contractor as per guidelines.
“We have given the directors of public works and planning and development one week to give us a report on how the contractor was identified,” she said.
But Karonga district director of public works Allan Chitete dismissed the accusations, saying the council consulted village and area development committees.
He said: “Under DDF, projects are identified by the community through local structures. The projects are further discussed at development committee meetings to be approved by the full council.
“So, my understanding is that once the local structures are consulted, then the council goes ahead to advertise the bid for contractors to apply.”