Court lifts injunction that blocked rollout of Govt medical scheme

The High Court has lifted an injunction which barred Government from proceeding with the civil servants’ medical scheme under Medical Aid Society of Malawi (MASM).

High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda has removed the injunction which was obtained by health insurance company Central Health Limited in March.

Since 2008, Government through the Department of Human Resource Management and Development (DHRMD) has been implementing a medical scheme under MASM targeting principal secretaries but in 2018 it was agreed that insurance should be extended to all civil servants’ wo are about 250,000.

The implementation of the extension was expected to be conducted in phases thus medical cover was introduced for civil servants from Grade D to H. Under the scheme, civil servants will be contributing 10 percent of premiums while Government will be contributing 10 percent.

DHRMD sought a ‘no objection’ from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority and it was granted.

Central Health Limited in March then obtained an injunction against the contract saying it was awarded without open tender proceedings. The company added that the contract awarded to MASM was illegal and unconstitutional because lawful and procedurally fair administrative action was not adhered to.

However, DHRMD argued in court that the single sourcing method was utilized to ensure the standardization and compatibility of services so that civil servants should not be subjected to different health insurance services.

“MASM also has very wide coverage in terms of the scope of their services and would be in a position to cover the sheer number of officers in the civil service,” DHRMD said in statements supporting its application.

The department then asked the court to vacate the injunction saying it was obtained based on wrong facts and was affecting civil servants who had already been deducted medical cover money from March salaries but were not able to access medical services.

In his ruling pronounced recently, Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda noted that the DHRMD showed in its arguments that it complied to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act by using single sourcing method and this argument was not challenged by Central Health Limited.

Nyirenda then discharged the injunction thus allowing the government to implement the first phase of the civil servants’ medical scheme under MASM.