The Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) has asked the political leaders that will come into power after May 20 elections to put in place sustainable financing mechanisms for the health sector and avoid overdependence on donors for drugs, medical supplies and salaries for health workers.
Mhen’s remarks come at a time when most district hospitals had less than 40 percent of their annual budget by December 31 2013 and six months before the next financial year.
The 2013/14 mid-year report of the health sector indicates that by December 31 2013, district hospitals had spent K5.9 billion (US$14 496 314) of the K9.9 billion allocated to the district health offices (DHOs) and donors disbursements have been less than expected.
Following revelations of theft of public resources in September last year, donors have not contributed to the pool fund and have only disbursed K36.2 billion (US$88 943 489) out of K64 billion (US$157 248 157) going through the government system.
The Ministry of Health donor partners who do not contribute to the pool fund, among them, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Unicef, UNFPA and the Centre for Disease Control had only provided K1.6 billion (US$3 931 204) of the expected K8.4 billion (US$20 638 821) by December 31 2013.
Commenting on the developments, the Mhen executive director Martha Kwataine said the challenge with overreliance on donors was that they tend to be unpredictable and reactive instead of being proactive.
“Whichever government comes into power after May 20 should come up with a sustainable financing mechanism for the health sector with minimal support from donors,” Kwataine said.