Over 30 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in health, education advocacy and programming within Malawi including representatives from
ministries of Education and Health attended AFRODAD’s one day policy advocacy and monitoring capacity building workshop in Malawi, Lilongwe. The main intent was to share knowledge and understanding of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a financing model while building and exchanging innovative and effective techniques for monitoring and reporting PPP issues in Malawi.
Discussions throughout the training emphasized the need to ascertain success factors necessary to make PPP projects at country level viable and to debate on the state of affairs with regards to the privatisation of health services and education in Malawi. The workshop was a great opportunity for CSOs in Malawi and various government ministries in the education and health sector to get acquainted with the PPPs’ concept (with detailed definition of partnerships, types of partnerships and benefits of partnership for the public sector) and to get feedback and recommendations from various researches done by AFRODAD focusing on privatisation, education and health service delivery.
In line with the privatisation of health services and education in Malawi, AFRODAD’s Policy and Research Consultant in the International Public Finance (IPF) portfolio Mr. Adrian Chikowore, highlighted that findings from researches done by AFRODAD revealed that Malawi continues to have a growing number of unlicensed providers in the health sector worsened by a weak re-licensing system. He noted that Private schools remain unaffordable to the majority except the affluent households i.e. ‘low-fee private schools’ cost poor families at least one-third of their available income. Moreover, there is a high uneven geographical distribution of those Private schools. “Privatisation presents elements of inequality and Malawi has not been spared given the existence of many Private schools and health services.
Mr. Adrian Chikowore also cautioned CSOs and the government in Malawi to prioritise the regulation and monitoring of the private sector across the country: “Inspection from the regulatory authorities is very poor for both the education and health sector. For example, regulatory bodies including Medical Council of Malawi, the Nursing Council and the Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board are inadequately funded and equipped with both human and material resources thus limiting mechanisms to ensure the healthcare quality provided by the private sector”.
Of importance was a call for CSOs in Malawi to participate in the privatisation discourse as a venture to engage the government and private actors who currently shape the nature of privatisation in Malawi.