Development partners working in the health sector have said the government needs to improve the quality of health care in the country.
United Nations Population Fund officer-in-charge Miranda Tabifor said this in Lilongwe on Wednesday at the opening of a three-day National Quality Healthcare Conference.
She bemoaned the limited access to health facilities in the country, saying only 75 percent of Malawians live within seven kilometres of a health care facility.
Said Tabifor: “We encourage the government to allocate resources to improve health sector outcomes. And yes, funds are allocated, but are they commensurate with the needs of the sector?”
She has since urged government to allocate more resources to the health sector, which has, for the past two years, received less than 10 percent of the national budget.
Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda said a mapping exercise shows that Malawi needs to build 900 health posts across the country to improve access to health care.
“It is true that pregnant women and children travel long distances to access health services.
“However, government is committed to improving quality health care and is putting in resources to build more health facilities,” she said.
On her part, World Health Organisation Malawi representative Neema Kimambo said Malawi needs to address several challenges, including a lack of qualified health professionals, equipment and infrastructure to achieve quality health care.
“Quality needs investments and this is why the focus for this conference is investing in quality health care.
“Because we know you need to invest in infrastructure, health workers, equipment and supplies, but also there are some things that can be done by re-organising and setting up systems,” she said.
The conference is being held under the theme ‘Investing in Quality Health Care: A Roadmap to Achieving Universal Health Coverage and SDG Goal III’.