Release promised funds on time


THE Christian Health Services (CHS), despite having its 2017 organisational structure approved by the Department of Personnel Management, continue to struggle to keep its doors open due to cut in funds.
The approval then means that all staff of the CHS, such as public servants, will be paid through the Government’s payroll system.
Last week, CHS chief executive officer Ulch Tapia said there were big cuts in the salary grants and operational funds from the Government this year, which had affected the church-run health facilities.
Under CHS, there are 27 different denominations that operate health facilities and health workers training schools throughout the country and most of them are in remote areas where Government health services are absent.
It has 485 health facilities and 15 health worker training schools (11 community health workers training schools and four nursing college of which two provide midwifery training).
This covers 63 per cent of the health services in the country.
Salary grant appropriated for this year was K61 million, which was cut by K8 million from the last two years where it was allocated K69 million.
There was a 73 per cent cut in the operational funding from the Government this year, leaving it with K2.7 million to run its operations.
Last year, K9 million was appropriated, but K8 million was given for operations.
CHS has paid up till June for salaries and up to March for operations.
They are unable to run our all routine programmes.
Their support staff have been laid off and now the doctors, nurses and health extension officers are doing everything such as cleaning and driving.
Government made a commitment through a National Executive Council decision early this year to fund the shortfall in the 2021 budget appropriation therefore, it needs to fund the shortfall.
An example is Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Jiwaka that had not been receiving funding for 12 months and that had affected its operations.
Last week, we reported that K7 million had been allocated and is expected to be received by the hospital by today to avoid its closure and return its operations to normalcy. The CHS secretariat has always been thankful that consecutive governments continued to fund its health services throughout the country.
Given the track record of churches in the country, wherever possible they should be given the support.
Through their established networks, and evangelistic ministries, the churches obviously are well-placed to do that.
If the Government can maintain regular and timely release of funds to take care of salaries, the church agencies can provide additional incentives to ensure their staff members are well cared for wherever they are, service will be delivered to our people in rural areas.
The biggest complaint from the churches in the past in regards to government assistance has been the delays in releasing funds to the healthcare providers. The churches were not getting money when they needed it.
What may be considered as “normal” delays in the bureaucracy may not be acceptable to church-run facilities that are used to a different level of efficiency in their operations.
This is something that should be appreciated by government agencies and such an understanding will go a long way into enhancing the church-government partnership.
It will enable churches and their allied agencies to progressively take much of the healthcare burden away from the Government.
All the Government needs to do is allocate funding promised to them when they need it.
It is a certainly a step for better things to come in the provision of healthcare.