The event, known as a Knowledge Café, was organised by Options and included over 150 representatives from national and local government, and civil society, the donor community and the media.
The Minister for Health, Dr. Peter Kumpalume, who was the guest of honour at the event, said his ministry is pushing forwards on its health sector reform agenda.
Kumpalume said his ministry has established an Anti-Drug Theft Unit which aims to stop the illicit leakage of essential supplies in health facilities.
“We can’t talk about health sector accountability when we continue to experience drug theft in health facilities. That is why my ministry created the Anti-Drug Theft Unit to stop drug theft thereby promoting the quality of care”, he said.
For her part, the Chair of Parliamentary Committee on Health and Shadow Minister for Health, Juliana Lunguzi, observed it is unfortunate that some ward councillors, whose responsibility it is to provide oversight functions to district councils, cannot fully analyse and articulate issues facing the health sector.
“How do you expect those who cannot read or write to perform oversight functions? How can a councillor who cannot read or write promote health sector transparency and accountability?” she asked.
We designed the Knowledge Café as a forum for thought, discussion and debate to explore practical ways for strengthening health service provision in Malawi.
Options’ Managing Director, Jo Elms, said at the event that health sector accountability is the best possible way to ensure quality of health service provision, and that for Options, accountability is all about shared ownership and joint responsibility.
“From the discussions, there are clearly many areas that need focus and attention. But it is also clear that there is abundant energy, commitment, knowledge and drive to make it happen, and to make the health system more accountable”, he said.
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