By Chikondi Manjawira
Amref Health Africa has acknowledged the critical role, private sector plays in Malawi in the delivery of healthcare in the country.
According to Amref, the private sector in Malawi has supported specific public health sector needs such as the purchase of specialised equipment.
This is a sign that the private sector is aware of its corporate social responsibility and it is incumbent upon the government to continuously engage the private sector to fulfill this role.
In a press statement which Amref Health Africa-Malawi released on December 12, 2018, Amref said that the private sector has a stake in the health insurance sector citing the type of health services covered by the private sector, the social attributes of people covered by the insurance packages as well as the level of premiums charged as examples that all these elements have serious implications on the attainment of universal health coverage in Malawi.
As the world commemorates the Universal Health Coverage Day on December 12, Amref Health Africa in Malawi echoes the words of its Group Chief executive Officer that “Health is the most fundamental human right on which all other rights can be enjoyed. Universal Health Coverage is its guarantee”.
Amref Health Africa in Malawi therefore would like to appeal to the private sector, especially those in the health insurance industry, to ensure that they try as much as is possible to consider the aspect of “equity in health”; to cover as many people and services as is possible.
This includes family planning services which are usually not covered in most of the health insurance packages. Amref further implored them to ensure that their insurance packages equitably cover the different spectrums of the Malawi society.
The government is the largest provider of health services in Malawi, covering around 60 percent of the health services but the private sector also directly acts as a provider of healthcare in Malawi.. About 40 percent of health services are provided by private actors such as the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM), commercial providers and some non-profit actors. It is no secret that these private actors are crucial for expanding access to essential health services in rural areas of Malawi.
Benedict Chinsakaso, Health Systems Advocacy for Amref Health Africa in Malawi said that there is a need for the government to meaningfully engage the private sector in the health sector if Malawi is to realise its ambition of attaining universal health coverage by 2030.
Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship