MHEN advises govt to use MK1bn ambulance allocation to maintain grounded ambulances

Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) has recommended that the Ministry of Health should channel funds allocated for the procurement of new ambulances towards maintaining the grounded ones.

But MHEN Executive Director George Jobe argued that the country has enough ambulances to service Malawians in all corners of the country.

In the 2024-2025 National Budget, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs has allocated MK1 billion towards the procurement of ambulances.

But speaking at an interface meeting with selected parliamentary committees on Monday evening, Jobe observed that maintaining the grounded ambulances would help to save money.

“There are a lot of ambulances lying idle that need maintenance. Why can’t the MK1 billion allocated funds be used to maintain those ambulances?” he asked.

Jobe was presenting an analysis of the health sector budget, which the network did in partnership with Oxfam, Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM), SAT Malawi, SRHR Alliance.

Jobe presenting a budget analysis before selected committees of parliament on Monday evening–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

Key findings of the analysis include an observation that Malawi’s health sector is highly donor-dependent, with on average public health financing accounting for 23.9 percent, private 17.5 percent and donor, 58.6 percent of total health expenditure.

The analysis also established that vaccine procurement is largely dependent on donors.

“In the 2024/25 financial year, MK700 million has been allocated for procurement of family planning commodities which is a 23 percent increase from MK570 million.  The allocation may not meet the FP needs with the growing population,” said Jobe.

But Jobe commended the government for increasing the allocation to the health sector to 12.2 percent, saying this is the first time the sector has received such an allocation.

Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, Gladys Ganda, assured the CSOs that members of Parliament (MPs) would make changes to the allocation to ensure that the MK1 billion goes towards maintenance of the ambulances currently lying idle in public health facilities across the country.

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