Health ministry faces $33M budget cut

The National Referral Hospital

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services’ 2018 budget has been reduced by $33 million from last year’s budget to a total of $492 million.

During Public Accounts Committee budget hearings this week, MHMS Permanent Secretary Dr Tenneth Dalipanda said the decrease in the Development Budget will exert considerable pressure on service delivery.

The reduction will make it difficult for the ministry to carry out its development plans for this year, Mr Dalipanda said.

“One of the things that we will not be able to do is to build some of the clinics that we would like to build, including Manuopo, Wagina, in the end of Choiseul, and Afio,” he said. “And we would like to start master planning for the YCC clinic as well, which I think, at the moment with this budget, we won’t be able to do.”

Donor funding is also declining, Mr Dalipanda said. The total decreased from $6.7 million last year to $4.5 million this year.

Current donors are expected to leave by 2020, and Mr Dalipanda said the Government will have to cover the funding gap from then onwards.

By Leni Dalavera

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