Residents of Phalombe District will have to endure suffering amid the suspension of Service-Level Agreement (SLA) by Holy Family Hospital with the government due to unsettled bills worth about K30 million.
Holy Family Hospital which is under Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) is considered as a district hospital because government owns none in the district.
Cham partnered the government to expand access to high quality, life saving health services to underserved, rural and hard to reach areas.
The SLA is an agreement between Cham facilities and District Health Offices (DHOs). In the agreement, Cham provides critical care services, free of charge, to communities that would not be able to access such services.
The DHOs then reimburse Cham facilities for the cost of these services, allowing them to continue on their mission.
Cham officials said they will not rescind their decision until government pays the dues.
Phalombe District Health Office Spokesperson, Daniel Chilomo, said only the Ministry of Health is competent to handle the issue.
Chilomo said currently, they have started using resources that were meant for otheroperations in transporting patients to hospitals such as Chiradzulu, Zomba Central and Mulanje.
“The good thing is, the ministry knows the issue and we are not the problem. We are just doing what is good for the people we serve,” he said.
Ministry of Health Spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe, said they could not pay the money as the hospital officials delayed in giving invoices for the months in question.
“Service Level Agreement between us is still intact. I must say we are surprised that services that the hospital is supposed to deliver to the communities are stopped when the service agreement is still intact.
“The payment to the facility has delayed because they also delayed in giving us invoices. They are supposed to give us invoices every month but in this regards they stayed for two months without giving us any bills,” he said.
However, Chikumbe could not commit on the deadline for the payment.
“You know we have received the invoices late, so the normal process will follow. The invoices will have to be scrutinised and validated and then payment will be made. It is also worrying to note the officials of the hospital just rushed to stop offering their services without even letting us know,” he said.
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