Government corruption cripples healthcare in Malawi

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IRIN
Government corruption “cripples” Malawi’s health sector

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Photo: Laura Lopez Gonzalez/IRIN
Corruption has diverted funds from already under-funded health facilities
LILONGWE, 24 October 2013 (IRIN) – Extensive looting of public funds by government officials in Malawi has dangerously undermined the country’s public health sector, with hundreds of public health workers striking in recent weeks to protest late payments of their September salaries.

The delays were the result of a financial scandal involving government officials who exploited loopholes in a government payment system to make fraudulent deposits into the accounts of companies that did not have government contracts. Up to 20 billion kwacha (US$5.3 million) was siphoned from public funds, according to the Financial Intelligence Unit, a government organ.

The health worker strike, which started in early October, crippled operations at public hospitals, which are also experiencing depleted budgets for essential medical equipment and drugs.

“My three-year-old daughter…

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