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 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. This was insufficient for the district with a population of 638,836 people comprising 31 facilities.
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.
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.
Previously funds were not handled openly which raised concerns. Now the story has changed, the budget is readily available for public consumption, everyone is able to see
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.