Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume has blamed the delay by the Malawi government in equipping donor-funded health facilities across the country on poor coordination between government and its donor partners.
The minister made the remarks when Weekend Nation sought his comments on why government takes time to deploy staff to donor-funded health facilities. This was after he officially opened a two-day national workshop in Lilongwe on community-oriented service delivery models for HIV care.
Said Kumpalume: “It is a shame that the Ministry of Health is taking ages before staffing donor-funded health centres simply because of failure by funders to follow procedures before constructing the clinics.”
The minister admitted that there are a number of health centres lying idle because government is failing to equip them with staff and medical drugs.
“Our biggest problem has been the lack of coordination as some donors tend to embark on construction projects without consulting the ministry,” he said.
Kumpalume called on the donor community to appreciate that structures alone cannot contribute to improved service delivery in the health sector until they are equipped with medical equipment and staff.
He said the construction of hospitals should always be done in consultation with authorities at the ministry so that they prepare staff and equipment for the same.
“It takes three to four years to train medical staff. That is why I am emphasising the need for donors to inform us so that we prepare for these clinics in advance,” stressed Kumpalume.
Some of the clinics currently lying idle are in Nsanje, Thyolo, Mzimba and Nkhata Bay districts.