Development and advocacy charity, Oxfam, has warned the Malawi Government against heeding calls to introduce user fees in the country’s public hospitals.
In a statement released yesterday, Oxfam said it opposes the move as government has capacity to increase funding to the health sector without introducing a burden to the poor in their quest for health services.
Oxfam Malawi country director John Makina further warned that the inequality gap is already worsening and the current economic situation would leave the majority of Malawians unable to afford quality health services.
While commending government’s efforts in financing the sector, Oxfam said there are a number of options that authorities can pursue to increase the resource envelope and cited taxation as an example.
During a drug crisis in 2013, some doctors and health sector players who met former president Joyce Banda at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe suggested the introduction of user fees as one way of improving quality of health services in the country.
However, user fees in the sector remain a divisive and sensitive issue with a debate on the matter in 1966 leading to the infamous Cabinet crisis.