Aug 20, 2017 Last Updated 2:22 PM, Aug 18, 2017
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A health rights advocate reveals that inadequate human and financial resources are continuing to cripple the delivery of quality health services in the country.

The Executive Director of the Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN), George Jobe, raised this in Liwonde during media training on a project called Every Woman Every Child Social Accountability.

According to MANA, the project is aimed at promoting accountability on issues of reproductive, maternal, neo-natal, child and adolescent health in the country.

Jobe said through the project, his organization has discovered that a shortage of health workers and inadequate financial resources in the country’s health facilities are major challenges compromising health service delivery.

He noted that a fully-fledged health facility in rural areas is supposed to have six nurses, two medical assistants and environment health officer, but explained that this is not currently the case.

He observed that women and children are the ones suffering the most, hence the need for the government to put in place mechanisms to iron out the problems.

Jobe urged the media to enhance their surveillance role to ensure that such issues are brought to the attention of the authorities.

Maternal health service delivery in Karonga district is expected to improve following the donation of assorted medical equipment.

The Institute for Integrated Women in Development (IIWD) made the donation on Monday to the hospital’s department of family planning services.

Items such as syringes, sterilised gloves, pain killers and an adult weighing scale for pregnant women all worth MK5 million  were donated.

The organisation’s executive Director, Jane Makwera disclosed that her institution made the donation in response to the call by the district’s medical authorities for support.

“When nurses are administering family planning services to women, they need to have gloves which were lacking at the district hospital especially at the department of family planning so we thought of donating to them through our partners in Germany, the Brook Man Foundation,” said Makwera.

Apart from the medical equipment, the organization also decided to donate pain killers to help lessen the pain women go through when receiving some contraceptives and alo when giving birth.

Speaking to Capital FM after receiving the donation, the community health nurse responsible for the department of family planning services at the hospital, Ruth Ngwalu said the items will help them improve the quality of health service delivery thereby reducing maternal deaths and human population.

 “They are our partners who help us when administering family planning services. The materials are indeed sterile because they are needed for a long term and they help in times of dire need more especially when women experience excessive virginal bleeding,” Ngwalu explained.

Statistics indicate that, Karonga district currently has a total population is at over 300,000 of which the number of those at childbearing age is 77,599 representing 23 percent of the total population.

Recent information obtained from the hospital, the district has expected pregnancies of 16,869 against the same rate of expected deliveries, representing 5 percent.

Players in the insurance sector are strategising on the best ways of advancing health insurance in the country as they prepare for their 2017 annual meeting.

The Insurance Institute of Malawi (IIM) is expected to have the issue as part of their top agenda as they converge for their 2017 annual lake conference in Mangochi next week.

For some time now, there have been queries on issues such as full and partial health insurance cover, and access to the services.

According to Chimwemwe Kanyenda who is Chairperson of the Organising Committee of the conference, they have chosen the Helaht sector because only a handful of people in Malawi have access to health insurance.

This is mainly due to the fact that a majority of Malawians cannot afford health insurance and depend on public health institutions when in need medical attention.

Apart from that, some are not even are of the various companies that offering their services in health insurance.

The conference has in previous years offered captains in the insurance industry an opportunity to bang heads on how to improve the field and tap ideas from global insurance trends.

The conference is this year expected to be held under the theme Business Unusual.

The Insurance Institute of Malawi is the arm of the insurance industry in Malawi that deals with education and training.

 Its main objective is to promote professionalism in the insurance industry through education and training. The Institute started operating in 1978.

It has been administering examinations on behalf of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London and the Insurance Institute of South Africa.

The Institute has seen so many people working in the Malawi Insurance Industry qualifying as Associates and Fellows.

A 2017 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report indicates that the premature birth rate for Malawi continues to increase.

Authorities are being pressed to ensure that proper Antenatal care is provided, for premature birth rates to reduce.

The report singles out the current levels of child marriage, as the main contributor to rising premature birth rates.

It further states that in developing countries like Malawi, 14.2 million girls marry annually.

Young girls’ reproductive organs are not fully developed to embrace pregnancy and this can result in premature birth.

Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are also the leading cause of death in young women aged 15-19.

Child marriage is a global issue and most child marriages take place in rural sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

In sub-Saharan Africa more than one third of young women are married by their 18th birthday.

There are fears that this will continue to increase the expanding youth population.

Malawi is amongst the 10 countries with the highest rates of child marriage, currently at 50%.

Commenting on the 2017 UNICEF report, the president of the Society of Medical Doctors in Malawi, Douglas Lungu, says if pregnant women attend antenatal clinics cases of premature birth can be minimised.

To ensure a reduction of premature births and early child marriages, girls need to be encouraged to stay in school, and not be encouraged at a young age to have children, when they are children themselves.  

MASM Hikes Scheme Prices

The Medical Aid Society of Malawi (MASM) has increased its medical scheme prices by 25 percent, effective the first of September this year.

Among other schemes, VIP Scheme members will be paying MK21, 000 from MK16, 800 while dependants will be paying MK18, 000 from MK14, 400.

Executive Scheme membership fee has risen from K9, 000 to MK11, 250 while dependants will move from K 8,400 to K10, 500.

Econo-plan scheme currently at MK 3,000 will be at MK 3,750.

In a statement, MASM Chief Executive Officer Sydney Chikoti attributes the increase to the pressure on its resources and sustainability brought about by the revision of the benefit package at the beginning of this year.

Chikoti mentions that the decision to implement a no short fall package has prompted some members to move from their traditional service providers like CHAM facilities or nominated General Practitioners where MASM has favourable negotiated tariffs to more expensive private hospitals and facilities.

He admits the development has led to losses in the first half of the year as claims far exceeded the contributions collected consistently every month.

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