A health rights activist is challenging the government to bridge the access to health care gap between those in the rural areas and urban set up as one way of promoting universal health coverage.
The sentiment is in reaction to the continued and numerous challenges facing people in the rural areas while striving to access health services.
Among the existing challenges are poor service delivery, long distances to health facilities and erratic medical supplies despite rural areas having over 70% of the total population.
According to Maziko Matemba who is also the executive director for the Health Rights and Education Programme, the disparities in access to health care is an infringement to the right to equitable health services.
He believes the government and the donor community should priotize provision of health services through construction of more hospitals and health centres to cater for those traveling long distances.
He said; “It is disheartening to see that most people in the rural areas are still struggling to access good health care services due to lack of commitment by the authorities to improve the situation.”
Matemba further highlighted that the government should also try to include construction of new health facilities in its annual budgets as opposed to budgeting for procurement of drugs and recruitment of health workers only.
“It is a fact that the population of Malawi is growing at an alarming rate hence the need for more facilities as well as expansion of existing ones,” he added.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Malawi is among countries that are still struggling with equitable health service provision for all.