Youth Platform Calls for Government Compliance with Abuja Declaration for Health Funding

The Sexual, Reproductive Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (SRMNCAH+N) Youth Platform, comprising the Youth Initiative for Community Development (YICOD), All for Youth, and Phalombe Youth Arms (PYAO), recently engaged the Ministerial Directors of Health, Budget, and Finance to address concerns regarding the government's failure to meet the Abuja Declaration's health budget threshold.

The Abuja Declaration, a pivotal commitment signed by multiple nations, mandates that signatories allocate a minimum of 15 percent of their national budget towards health service implementation.

However, the Youth Platform's Advocacy Lead, Andrew Bwanali, highlighted the disparity between this commitment and the current budget allocation by the government.

"Our government is falling short of the Abuja Declaration, as evidenced by the 2023-24 budget allocation of 8.3 percent to the Ministry of Health. This shortfall significantly impacts the delivery of essential health services across the nation," expressed Bwanali.

Bwanali emphasized the urgency of addressing these gaps, especially in financing sexual reproductive health services, stressing that the lack of funds severely hinders essential healthcare access. He also urged the government to allocate resources specifically for youth-friendly health services at the district level.

Malawi’s Ministry of Health's Reproductive Health Services Deputy Director, Henry Phiri, acknowledged the impact of the government's failure to comply with the Abuja Declaration on healthcare quality and he also highlighted that insufficient funding affects various crucial areas such as youth-friendly health services and family planning.

Echoing the concerns, Budget Director from the Ministry of Finance, Loyce Chilimsungwi, assured the Youth Platform of the government's commitment to enhancing funding for health services.

"Despite our resource constraints, we prioritize drug availability and medical personnel to attend to patients. We ensure that the basic minimum in the health sector is provided for," stated Chilimsungwi.

The Youth Platform's budget analysis urges an additional K70 billion allocations to adequately fund health services. In the 2023-24 financial year, the government earmarked K313 billion for the Ministry of Health.

The platform's consistent engagement with government officials demonstrates the youth's determination to secure adequate health financing and prioritize the well-being of communities across the nation.

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