Trust concerned with UHC policy


Development Communications Trust (DCT) has expressed concern over government’s failure to implement universal health coverage (UHC), saying people in rural areas face challenges in accessing health services.

Speaking at a press briefing in Blantyre on Friday, DCT executive director Prince Mtelera said the State is obliged to provide adequate health care commensurate with the health needs of the Malawian society and international standards of health care, but many Malawians face challenges in accessing quality health services.

Mtelera (R) making a presentation

He cited an incident at Kuundu Health Centre, a Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) health facility in Dedza, where there is no public health facility and families are forced to pay to access the service. He said one family, from Madzianchuli Village in Traditional Authority Kachindamoto in the district, was forced to borrow money from a loan-shark (katapila) to pay for the service.

“Government should look into the eight-kilometre radius health policy where government cannot construct a public health facility where there is another health facility. Ministry of Health says the proportion of the population living within an 8km radius of a health facility (health centres and hospitals) stands at 90 percent in 2016. But the question is, what type of facility are the people accessing? Public or Cham?” asked Mtelera.

In her remarks, DCT project officer Zione Mayaya said the organisation is committed to working with government and other stakeholders to promote UHC.

DCT  has also documented issues  that  require advocacy  at national level and these  include the need  for  increased  funding  for the health  sector  according  to the Abuja  Declaration,  decentralisation of  procurement  of  medical supplies and drugs  to eliminate  persistent  shortage  of  medical supplies  in  health  facilities, and an increase in medical  staff  to curb  human  resources  inadequacies  in  health facilities.

Currently, DCT is implementing various projects in Balaka and Phalombe aimed at achieving UHC. n

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