During the examinations of the Budget 2018 estimates, a total of $2.5B was allocated for the region from which $2.2B will go towards current expenditures, and $255M will go towards the capital expenditures. The allocated sums will be spent on regional administration and finance, public infrastructure, education delivery and health services.
The sum of $620M will be directed towards the delivery of regional health services. One area in the sector that has seen an increase, as outlined by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, is that of dietary services.
In 2017, the allocated sum for dietary services was $17.5M; in 2018 $25.2M will be spent reflecting a $7.7M increase. When questioned the Minister explained that the increase caters for the five new locations (hospitals), which now have medical officers.
“Namely, Imbaimadai – two doctors, Waramadong – one doctor, Issano – two doctors, Kako – one doctor and Jawalla – one doctor. This accounts for the increased allocation for dietary services being sought in 2018”, Minister Bulkan clarified.
The Minister further defended his claims noting that the increase is necessary given that the services offered at the Bartica Hospital Complex have significantly improved.
Additionally, when questioned why the provision for fuel and lubricants for the health sector is less than that allocated for the education sector, Minister Bulkan explained that more doctors have been stationed in the region, on a full-time basis delivering a wide range of health services. “There is less need for movement of patients from far-flung locations to a central location”, he stated.
Further improvement slated for the region’s health sector include completion, construction and rehabilitation of health facilities and doctors’ quarters; purchase of a boat, engines and vehicles, and purchase of furniture and equipment.
In the previous 2017 National Budget, the sum of $2.3B was allocated for the region.