By Obert Mkandawire
On 29th October, 2019, the Justice and Peace Desk, through the OSISA funded health governance project, held a meeting at Club Marina in Karonga to influence the effective implementation of the decentralization process, policies and strategies within the health sector.
The meeting was attended by Chitipa
District Council led by the District Commissioner and Chitipa District Health
Management Team, the Chairperson of Chitipa CSO Network and members from the
Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga.
Firstly, the meeting advocated for
the relocation of the Director of Health and Social Services (DHSS) from the
district hospital to the Council offices.
The Justice and Peace Desk contends that the new arrangement will enable
the DHSS to oversee all health facilities without bias. The current set up is such that the DHSS is
preoccupied with matters relating to the district hospital and health centres
are affected in terms of distribution of resources.
Participants agreed in the interim
functions of the office of the DHSS should focus on the district level while
still operating from Chitipa District Health Office because the current DHSS is
working in acting capacity.
The meeting also discussed further
devolution of Chitipa Local Health Sector Budget. Currently, the budget is centralized at the
District Health Office. It was agreed
during the meeting that some Health Centres such as Misuku, Wenya and Nthalire
will have their own allocations for example fuel and cleaning materials from
Other Recurrent Transactions beginning next ORT disbursement.
Finally, participants agreed on the
separation of powers between the District Health Management Team and the
Hospital Management Team (HMT). The District
Health Management Team will concentrate on affairs of all health facilities
while the HMT will report to the former and will be making some financial
decisions pertaining to the district hospital. The Hospital Management Team
would be instituted and start its operations by December 31, 2019.
However, Chitipa DHO team requested the Justice and Peace Desk to facilitate some bench marking especially where such an arrangement is in place such as Ntcheu and Mchinji. The Justice and Peace Department says the new arrangement will ensure further decentralization of health decision making processes.