In the southern province of Inhambane, the Jangamo and Cumbana health centers have been lacking electricity for three months. Obviously, the absence of power in these health centers has been undermining the provision of basic services to users.
According to complaints collected by the Citizen Observatory for Health (OCS), at night, health professionals, specifically in maternity services, resort to the lanterns to assist pregnant women at the exact moment of delivery.
In some situations, the parturient is forced to buy candles on her own to take them to the maternity ward to use them as the main source of light during labor.
This is of great concern, since electricity is not only used to light buildings, but also to run machinery, including medical and surgical equipment that needs to be kept in cool places. Without electricity, it is almost impossible to guarantee the conservation of these instruments.
To verify the veracity of the denunciations, the OCS went to the field and found that the health units in question are really operating without electricity.
When interviewed by our team, the director of the District Service of Health, Women and Social Action (SDSMAS), Carlos Issaca, explained that this scenario occurs in almost all the health centers in Jangamo district, due to the lack of financial resources.
“For example, now we hoped that there would be financial availability, but the technicians, after viewing the system, realized that the amount was insufficient. This is a panorama not only of Jangamo, but of almost the entire province”, he stressed.
According to the director, most of the health units have no electricity due to budget problems. In other words, since January of the current year, the health centers in question have not received the necessary funding to meet operating costs, so that there can be improvements and a decent provision of services.
Which System do Health Centers Use to Pay Electricity bill?
According to Issaca, for hospitals using the post-paid method, such as Jangamo District Hospital, have electricity. However, health units that use the pre-paid method (credelec) are struggling to acquire electricity.
This situation, argues Carlos Issaca, ends up creating constraints in the operation of some services, such as the conservation of vaccines.
In this case, the director of SDSMAS explained that the Jangamo District Hospital has been used for vaccine conservation. This is not an easy process, given that there are several inconveniences, that is, every day there must be people who go to the hospital in search of vaccines.
“We have this alternative. At the time of the execution of the activities, one fetches the vaccines and when the work is done, at the end of the day, they are returned. This is a backup, but it would be practical for us to have electricity for the full operation of the health facility, although we are not saying that the work is stopped” he stressed.
“It is true that at some point we may think it is a tiny situation, but the providers themselves are also starting to have constraints”, he reiterated.
The director also revealed to the OCS that he attended a provincial-level meeting, where the lack of electricity in health centers was addressed.
“The resources for the operation of hospitals are provided by the central body, with the provincial directorate or service for economy and finance and this, in turn, makes the allocation at the level of the districts”, he explained, adding that health units, as they are the backbone, are even more affected.
However, there are other services at the provincial level that are in the same situation – lack of funding for their operation.
Electricity Generator Out Of Order
Still on the issue of electricity in health units, OCS learned from its sources that the influential health unit in that part of the province, Jangamo District Hospital, has a broken generator.
In fact, this hospital only continues to have lighting because it uses the post-paid service, but it has several accumulated bills owed to the publicly owned electricity company, EDM.
It should be noted that the most recent OCS analysis on the Budget Execution Report (REO) on the Health Sector in 2022 points out that between 2015 and 2022, the health sector absorbed, on average, about 30.1 billion meticais, which in terms of total expenditure represents 10%, equivalent to 4% of GDP. As such, Mozambique is far from reaching the minimums envisaged in the Abuja Declaration – a commitment that assumes that each African State must invest 15% of its national budget in in the health sector.
Before the discovery of Illegal Debts (2 billion dollars loans assumed by the Mozambican government without the parliament consent), the Government managed to maintain allocation levels in the total order of 12%, equivalent to 3% of GDP, in 2016. After the allocation of health expenditure reached 14%, largely as a result of the implementation of the Covid-19 response plan, which relied heavily on foreign aid.
The budget allocated to the health sector in 2022 represented 13% of total expenditure and 4% of GDP, of the same year.
Read more: https://www.observatoriodesaude.org/download/analise-do-reo-2022/