The new Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume says engaging District Health Officers (DHO) and other personnel providing health services on the ground would be an ideal process towards improving the dwindling standards being experienced in almost all public health facilities.
Kumpalume, who was appointed on Monday replacing Jean Kalirani at the ministry, said this yesterday an hour after reporting for duties at Capital Hill.
“The first thing that I would like to do is to meet the people on the ground providing health services, to hear from them the problems they are facing and possible solutions that they may come up with. I think that would be the best possible way out because the people on the ground are on the receiving end of any complaint,” he said.
Kumpalume, who said was met by several key people in government before been appointed for the position, said that his first assignment would be to deal with drug shortages attributed to supply chain, lack of resources in and poor management in the system.
“Funding to DHOs was really bad in May and June a development that crippled our hospitals…But the point is, as a ministry we are aware of those issues which some of them happened due to the Ifmis (Integrated Financial Management Information System which caused looting of public funds) and right now Treasury [is making sure that the DHOs are funded in time and the problems do not reoccur],” he said.
Kumpalume has been appointed at a time when in-patients in public facilities are being served one meal a day, told to buy drugs and meeting referral transportation costs to the next level.
Reacting to his remarks, Executive Director for Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN), Martha Kwataine said the new minister must meet all stakeholders in the health sector, noting that each stakeholder has a role to play towards improving health services in the country.
“So him just meeting the health service providers, I don’t think it is enough because the challenges being experienced cannot just be blamed on the workers,” she explained.
Kwataine said the drug pilferage syndicate is from the headquarters down to where drugs are finally used.
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