Speaker Gotani Hara urges MPs to push for increased health budget for children,women

By Chisomo Phiri

Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara has urged Members of Parliament (MPs) in the country to push for an increase in health budget, specifically targeting women and children.

She made the plea during the opening of a day-long capacity building meeting for parliamentarians on financing on women and adolescents health in Lilongwe organised by the International Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The Speaker said resources that are currently allocated to children and women health needs are not enough to give them the best possible health services.

Gotani Hara

“Malawi is among countries where resources that are allocated to health requirements for women need to be increased as women face various challenges,” said Gotani Hara.

She indicated that even in the wake of resource constraints, Parliament can play its oversight role to provide checks and balances and ensure accountability in all allocated resources.

She said: “A lot of women are dying during childbirth and we are still registering a lot of neonatal deaths. As Parliamentarians, we need to push more, to make sure our women and children receive optimum care.”

On his part,Health and Rights Education Programme Executive Director Maziko Matemba said even though Malawi is doing well in health budget allocation, by allocating 12 percent of the required 14 percent of the National budget this financial year, there is still need to do more especially on access to sexual reproductive health and rights.

During the meeting, members of Parliament faulted the treasury for delaying payment to various Ministries, Departments and Agencies even after parliament had approved the funds.