Public hospitals owe the Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) K3 billion in unpaid blood bills, effectively choking the institution that is already crippled with under-funding.
MBTS chief executive officer Natasha Nsamala disclosed this when Deputy Minister of Health Halima Daudi inspected the Mzuzu MBTS branch on Thursday.
She said the bills have accumulated over a nine-month period and acknowledged that the delayed payments have hurt their target to collect 120 000 units of the life-saving fluids.
Said Nsamala: “In terms of which hospitals owe us, we are looking at all the hospitals; both the referrals and district hospitals. We do have a strategic plan which lays out the plans that we have for the next five years.
“It gets down to, for example, how we are going to get the 120 000 units of blood, our target. So, if we do not get that money, obviousl those targets get affected and then the resultant effect is that hospitals will not have enough blood.”
On efforts the MBTS has made to secure the funds, she said they are in “constant” engagement with the Ministry of Health and the Accountant General.
Nsamala said already her organisation fails to meet its annual blood collection target attributing it partly to underfunding.
On her part, Daudi said it was worrying that MBTS is owed such an amount.
She said: “This situation is disturbing because there is no other alternative to blood. However, we know that there are a lot of challenges when it comes to funding.”
MBTS is mandated to develop a sustainable blood transfusion service to ensure that the country is able to provide adequate supplies of safe blood and blood products to meet the needs of all patients in all hospitals in Malawi. It works with central, district and relevant hospitals in the public and private sector.