Written by Melie Chipula Bayani:
Nkhotakota District Health Office (DHO) has requested help from the government through the Parliamentary Committee on Health to settle outstanding bills with the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) and Central Region Water Board (CRWB).
Director of Health and Social Services (DHSS) for Nkhotakota Dr Jacob Kafulafula made the call Wednesday during the visit by the committee, as part of efforts to assess health service delivery in the district.
Dr Kafulafula lamented that the bills, which have accumulated from 2009, are affecting the referral facility’s budget each year.
He said, “The bills include a debt of approximately K188 million owed to the Central Region Water Board (CRWB) and about K138 million to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM), among other financial obligations”.
“With the current funding we cannot manage to settle the bills, and this is why we are asking for help from the government and other partners so as to ensure continued quality health service delivery”, he added.
Aside from the utility bills, Dr Kafulafula also asked for an increase in health funding and direct health facility funding.
Reacting to the call, the committee’s Chairperson Dr Matthews Ngwale promised to raise the issue during a meeting the committee plans to hold with the Ministry of Health on Thursday.
“We have appreciated and heard their concerns, and as a committee we will sit down with relevant authorities and see to it on how best we can help the”, Dr Ngwale said.
He emphasized that the committee once asked the government to allow district hospitals to have their own prepaid water and electricity, as part of reducing running costs.
During the visit, the committee commended Nkhotakota District Hospital for ensuring improved sanitation within the facility’s premises.
Nkhotakota DHO serves a population of over 400 thousand with 21 health facilities and runs a private section that generated K12 million last year, according to the committee.