Ministry of Health says it will do everything possible to support Health Services Manager’s Network (HESNET) with the aim of promoting policies and strategies in addressing some of the gaps observed in its Health Sector Strategic Plan three.
The minister responsible, Enoch Phale made the remarks on Monday in Mzuzu when he opened a two-day HESNET first-ever annual general meeting alongside launching the health sector’s Best Local Authority Award which will be sponsored by Innobuild Limited Company.
Phale said the ministry will ensure that the network’s structures are well-capacitated and supported for it to rise up to the challenges that the ministry continues to face, thereby improving health service delivery.
“As a policyholder, we will link up with policy implementors so that they isolate issues that they can support from Health Sector Strategic Plan.
This plan cannot be implemented by the ministry alone hence the call for both local and international development partners to support areas of their choice,” said Phale
Regarding the shortage of health workers in the country, Phale said the ministry acknowledges that human resources was an important component for quality health services delivery, however, issues of wage bills which cause the problem in most cases go beyond the ministry’s capacity.
“The ministry continues to lobby for resource mobilization to support such challenges among others besides advocating for practical policies providing guidance in the implementation of the plan,” he said.
Phale also expressed concern over dilapidated health facility structures and urged local councils to be vigilant in rehabilitating the facilities.
He said the ministry delegated rehabilitation of health facilities to local councils in the spirit of decentralization and it only intervenes when it comes to upgrading health centers and constructing new hospitals.
In his remarks, Chairperson for HESNET, Dr. Henry Chibowa applauded the meeting, saying it has created a platform for stakeholders in the health sector to reposition health systems to be in line with the plan.
“The advent of Covid-19 and the current Chorela outbreak have devastated our health systems, hence the need to reposition them,” said Chibowa Jr.
He however said the shortage of drugs and medical supplies in the country’s health facilities was a result of domination by Central Medical Stores Trust.
“There is a need for full decentralization of the drug budget. Currently, local authorities are given 10 percent of the total drug budget and our wish is that they should be given 50 percent and be at liberty to also buy drugs and medical supplies from pharmacies,” he said.
The meeting was among others, attended by directors of health and leaders from local authorities across the country.