The public and private sectors have agreed on key priority areas of collaboration for the next five years to improve private-sector health financing.
The priority areas, revealed yesterday at the close of a two-day meeting between government and the private sector in Lilongwe, include health infrastructure development, health service delivery and governance, financing of thematic areas and information and communications technology (ICT).
Ministry of Health deputy director responsible for health financing Emily Chirwa said the key output was to agree on five-year priority areas which the ministry can work with the private sector and develop a two-year strategic road map.
She said the meeting has since formed a technical working group which will meet within three months to synthesise the priority areas.
“ In health infrastructure , for instance, government is encouraging the private sector to construct mo d e r n f a c i l i t i e s such as hospitals or diagnostic centres, where government’s role, among others, is to guarantee business,” said Chirwa.
On his part, Blantyre Adventist Hospital chief executive officer Kirby Kasinja said the meeting sought to strengthen collaboration in the health sector, particularly between the public and the private sectors.
He said there was dire need to meet as health sector stakeholders and l oosen up the choking areas which are constraining health sector financing.
“Two people cannot walk together without agreeing on the agenda. As such, we have now agreed on how we should move together and that will define the health sector going forward,” said Kasinja.
An advocate and trainer on health financing in Africa, Maziko Matemba, said as civil society organisations (CSOs), they believe there are more areas of investment in the heal th sector where the private sector can invest in.
He said: “I know that the private sector is doing a lot, for instance in providing emergency health service support, but this has to be formalised.
“This is the formal process we have been lobbying for as CSOs. Apart from pushing for accountability, our role is to protect the poor. It is our desire, therefore, to see what has started today gaining more shape as it comes into reality.”
During the opening of the meeting on Tuesday, Minister of H e a l t h K h u m b i z e Kandodo Chiponda bemoaned the country’s health financing levels, saying Malawi is failing t o meet the Wor l d Heal th Organisat ion requirement of $86 (about K89 000) per capita per annum.
The meeting was funded by the African Union Development Agency-Nepad to help government address the challenge of health sector financing in the country. The agency’s representative, Chimwemwe Chamdimba, said Malawi is making positive strides in health sector local financing.