MamaYe trained district councillors in Mzimba, Nkhata Bay and Rumphi in health budget advocacy. We are starting to see some results in how funds are being allocated.
Reports that departments in their respective district councils are now tracking the expenditures are reaching our ears.
Few weeks ago, a report in Mzimba district indicated the district registered 19 deaths of babies under 28 days old - out of an average of 44 born in a month. This problem, according to Mzimba district council officials, was attributed to inadequate funds allocated to the district.
“Our partner MamaYe produced a transparency and assessment report last year which clearly outlined the situation in our district. Mothers and babies were dying due to lack of funds.
Previous year we used to get MK3.36 million a month.
We felt this was insufficient for the district with a population of 638,836 people comprising 31 facilities. We had problems reaching out to these facilities with the limited resources in place by then” said Mzimba South District Health Officer Lumbani Munthali.
He said a report that the organization released on September 19, 2016 has prompted Capitol Hill to raise funds allocated to M’mbelwa District Council’s health sector from MK15.7 million per month in the 2015/16 financial year to MK21 million, since August 2016.
That's a 33% increase in allocated funding.
“After improved funding from the month of August 2016, we have observed notable changes such that in that month, we only had 15 neonatal deaths, 1,393 live births representing 11 neonatal deaths per 1000 live births” said Munthali.
With the skills from MamaYe organization, the Mzimba district Health Office has now started making public information of how the money allocated to the office is being used on notice board of each and every department for transparency and accountability purposes - this was not happening previously.
‘We always strive for openness across all sections. When the funds are disbursed we post them on notice boards for everyone to appreciate how much has been allocated to respective sections.
Previously funds were not handled openly as such this raised more concerns on how they’re managed. Now the story has changed, the budget is readily available for public consumption, everyone is able to see”, he explained
Munthali has since commended MamaYe for the good initiative” saying it has brought in positive changes in management of resources at district level.
Health budget advocacy strives to make sure that health sector budget information is available and communicated to the public.
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