The Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) has asked government to increase funding to health sector as a way of addressing challenges the sector is currently facing.
MHEN executive director George Jobe made the remarks at Bingu International Conventional Centre during the pre-budget consultation meeting for the 2018 /2019 fiscal year.
Jobe said the health budget – which was K190 billion in 2017/18 budget– needs to be increased as one way of meeting the needs of the health sector which is facing challenges such as inadequate equipment, infrastructure and health personnel.
“We are asking that the 2018/2019 budget should include sexual reproductive health, family planning methods at district and community levels,” he said.
Jobe also asked government to provide ambulances to district hospitals and to address issues of blackouts in hospitals by providing enough fuel for generators.
He then noted that there are various medical personnel waiting to be recruited but government is failing to employ them despite the shortage of medical workers in hospitals across the country.
Jobe said the issues affecting the health sector are many and every Malawian is being affected hence the need to raise the budgetary allocation.
Speaking at the event, National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (Nasfam) head of policy and communications Beatrice Makwenda said their wish is to see the budget allocating funds for irrigation and agribusiness.
She also asked government to consider establishing an agricultural business bank to grant loans to farmers.
She then pointed out the issue of armyworms as one of the challenges which need to be quickly dealt with in the agriculture sector.
In his response, Secretary to the Treasury Ben Botolo said the Ministry of Finance will consider the proposals presented at the pre-budget consultations.
Speaking on behalf of the minister of finance, Botolo said the ministry cannot accommodate all concerns raised by the stakeholders but there is a chance that some of the proposals will be put in the 2018/19 national budget.
He also noted that some of the proposals are already in government’s plans.