His Excellency the State President Arthur Peter Mutharika came up with an idea in Malta during the Commonwealth head of state conference. He invited the private sector to get involved in health care in Malawi. But the ideas were far from clear. The private sector, as we all know is organized in a capitalist way. This means, as the successful capitalist Gordon Gekko said in the film Wall Street:
“It’s all about the bucks, Arthur. The rest is conversation.”
But that aspect, which is what the private sector revolves around like no other subject, remained in the dark: where is the money going to come from?
The private sector invests, to get more money out of the project in the future. That is the whole crux of capitalism. There is no such thing as a free lunch with the capitalists. Who is going to pay that money? We all know government is too cash strapped to even hire the nurses for which we as tax payers paid the education. Now they have used donor funds for the salaries, and again it is the donor who, in a zero-aid budget, have to come to our rescue and ensure some level of quality in the health sector. Our elected representatives do not do that for us. Government is also to poor to pay the opening of the beautiful Nkhata Bay Hospital that we all paid tax for. So they cannot afford to pay for the (no doubt) expensive services in the cancer centres that Mutharika proposed. He invited them to come in with health insurance schemes. We have them now, more competition may be nice. But that is not going to be affordable for the majority of Malawians who now rely on government hospitals.
So what is the idea here? If you get more private sector in health care, you get more inequality. Those who can pay get good services, those who cannot are left behind.
Again this government is, contrary to its election manifesto from only 2014, going the neo-liberal way. People with money are served, people with no money are not. Health care takes one more step in the direction of privatisation. Health care is less seen as a human right for all, and more as a commodity for the private sector (both national and international) to make money off the sick Malawian. Less rights for the poor, more rights for the (partly foreign) capitalist. More inequality, more deaths among the poor. That is the policy of this DPP government. What is the position of the opposition?