Malwi government lies on hospital funding
Funding report for the health sector for September shows how drastically funds for hospitals were trimmed contradicting the picture painted by Secretary to Treasury Ronald Mangani in a recent press statement in which he said there was no under-funding.
Ministry of Finance spokesperson, Nations Msowoya, admitted that DHOs got lower than what they expected in September but was quick to note that they got almost twice the funding in July as they had to purchase a lot of things being the first month of the financial year.
Msowoya, who wondered how the funding report got into the hands of the newspaper, advised the DHOs to understand the financial problems government is sailing in.
“We are not an economy like the US [United States]. We are in a poor country Malawi. Resources are scarce but we always prioritise the health sector from what we get. Their problem is that they prioritise in paying locum allowances,” said Msowoya.
However, in random interviews, three District Health officers accused Mangani of lying to the nation in the statement.
“In line with the recent adoption of a new scheme for financing the provision of medicines and medical supplies, advance quarterly funding for these commodities was provided in full for the first quarter.
“By the end of the first quarter (July to September) this funding was at 28 percent against a target budgetary provision of 25 percent. These statistics show that the recent allegations of under funding for the operations of public hospitals against the appropriated resources are unfortunate and ill intentioned,” says Mangani in the statement.
One DHO said: “This is a total lie. Actual figures are contrary to the statement.”
Another DHO said: “If there is no underfunding, why are ambulances in our health facilities grounded? Everyone can see that hospitals are struggling. Operations are hit hard.” another DHO observed.
The September funding report for all districts which we have seen shows deep cuts in funding levels to the health sector at each district.
Approved estimates for the health sector in all the districts were at K34 billion but cash flow funding for the month was only K4 billion and the actual funding that went to the health sector was K2.4 billion.
For example, Balaka got K5.5 million out of K152 million; Blantyre K14 million instead of K355 million; and Chikwawa received K9 million out of K188 million.
More examples show that Dedza received K11 million out of the approved K248 million while Dowa got K9 millionout of the required K217 million and Karonga K5 million instead of K125 million.
Kasungu, which was supposed to get K231 million got K9 million and Likoma got K1.6 million out of the approved K33 million. Lilongwe District received K34 million out of K524 million and Machinga K8 million out of K174 million.
Others are Mangochi K13 million instead of K289 million; Mchinji K7 million instead of K181 million; M’mbelwa K7 million K195 million; Mulanje K9 million instead of K218 million and Mwanza got K4 million.
Msowoya said hospitals got what was promised to them in the first quarter of the financial year thus July-September although they received less in September.
“It is true that for September they got lower than the budgeted [amounts] because what was agreed with the Ministry of Health was that at the beginning of the financial year (July) they would receive more because they would do a lot of purchasing. But overall, what went to the health sector in the first quarter was what we promised them,” said Msowoya advising health personnel to stop complaining as they get a 50 percent salary top up as an incentive.
Malawi Health Equity Network executive director, Martha Kwataine said Mangani was not telling the truth.
“Why is the ST embarrassing himself by posting information that is contrary to what is on the ground? Let us acknowledge that as a nation we are in a crisis and strategise on what we can do with the little resources?” wondered Kwataine.
The other districts got the chopped funding as follows:
Ntcheu K7 million out of K118 million
Nkhatabay K4 million instead of K115 million
Nkhotakota K9 million instead of K189 million
Nsanje K8 million instead of K133 million
Ntcheu K8 million out of K212 million
Ntchisi K4 million out of K116 million
Phalombe K6 million out of K143 million
Rumphi K5 million out of K121 million
Salima K6 million out of K165 million
Thyolo K10 million out of K248 million
Zomba K13 million out of K248 million
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