Chakwera gives central hospitals autonomy
‘I would like to inform you that Zomba Central Hospital will be the first hospital to become autonomous. Soon I will appoint a board to run the hospital. This will also happen with other central hospitals.’
Central hospitals in the country will soon be independent from the government. President Lazarus Chakwera has given a nod to have the hospitals run autonomously.
Chakwera announced the decision on Friday, saying processes have already commenced for the central hospitals to be managed independently.
“The issue about making the central hospitals autonomous, that’s not a problem to us as government because we listen to people’s concerns. The idea to make the hospitals independent is a good idea and my government had taken steps to achieve that.
“I would like to inform you that Zomba Central Hospital will be the first hospital to become autonomous. Soon I will appoint a board to run the hospital. This will also happen with other central hospitals,” Chakwera said.
He added that it is his wish that the hospitals be ran in a way that they will make them serve Malawians better.
Kamuzu Central Hospital Director Jonathan Ngoma has expressed excitement with the President’s pronouncement, saying the services at the hospital will now improve.
“Let the hospitals run themselves. We have been saying that government should have its hands off the central hospitals because we are the ones who know what to do to improve the services.
“We have partners that are willing to help us but government bureaucracy impinges on us; so this decision is a good one and we commend the President,” Ngoma said.
He added with such status, the central hospitals will be able to uplift themselves and upgrade into centres of excellence.
“We have had cases of ministers refusing to be admitted at Kamuzu Central Hospital during Covid-19 because of the conditions there; so after going autonomous, we will have facilities that would accommodate both the middle class and the upper class citizens,” he said.
Ngoma further assured that making the hospitals autonomous will not make the hospitals private as some think.
He said the policy remains that they are hospitals meant to serve the people for free. “Free services are going to continue.
What is going to happen is that we are going to find other mechanisms to generate revenue where we will have both private and public facilities under one roof.
“Whether we like it or not, we will never be equal [as citizens], so those that will afford to pay will do so and those who cannot afford will access services for free,” Ngoma added.
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda agreed with Ngoma, saying the move will transform the country’s health sector.
“We want Kamuzu Central Hospital, Mzuzu, Zomba and Queen Elizabeth central hospitals to be independent to improve efficiency,” She said.
The Parliamentary Committee on Health, through its chairperson Mathews Ngwale, has also been pushing for the independence of the central hospitals saying this would help improve service delivery in the sector.