Government dared on austerity measures
ActionAid Malawi has asked the government to abandon public sector austerity measures and start investing in health, water, hygiene and sanitation sectors to address problems such as the current cholera outbreak.
The international charity claims that the cholera crisis is a manifestation of the country’s failure to invest in health water, sanitation and hygiene sectors, a development that slows down progress towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 6, which seeks to achieve access to clean water by 2030.
The organisation further says the government’s austerity measures, including a staff recruitment freeze in the public sector, have resulted in multiple suffering for vulnerable groups.
ActionAid Malawi Executive Director Pamela Kuwali said time for action is now.
“The cholera outbreak has significantly disrupted the delivery of healthcare services at a time people are still struggling with the impact of the Covid pandemic.
“As is the case in any other emergency, the cholera outbreak has disproportionately affected women and girls, increasing the unpaid care work burden as they support those affected.
“We call upon the government and non-State actors to rise to the occasion by ensuring that care, treatment and preventive measures reach all at risk of the outbreak. The cholera outbreak presents an opportunity to the Malawi Government to abandon austerity measures, re-look its expenditure priority and invest resources towards key sectors,” Kuwali said.
She also asked the government to invest in gender-responsive public services in line with the Malawi Government’s commitments such as the Abuja Health Declaration and the Universal Health Coverage spelt out in the Malawi Health Sector Strategic Plan.
Speaking recently, during an interface with players in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, Water and Sanitation Minister Abida Mia admitted that the sector requires resources and investment.
Last week, President Lazarus Chakwera launched the Tithetse Cholera M’Malawi Campaign and, according to him, the cholera crisis is a result of collective neglect.
He added that nothing that government does would stop cholera spread if community members do not change their behaviour to adhere to preventive measures.