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President stresses improved health services

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani has stressed the need for improving basic health services at hospitals and modification of the procurement process.

His office said on Wednesday Ghani made the remarks during a meeting with health officials and representatives of international organisations.

Changes should be introduced to improve health services, he said. “We want a clear system and the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) should be accountable for ownership of the health sector.”

According to a statement from his office, Ghani said governors and district chiefs reserved the right to inform the presidency about the availability of health and NGO workers. “We want long-term partnerships with NGOs, a review of the organisations concerned and the creation a telephone line for complaint registration,” he added.

The current situation of the health sector, lacking accountability, was acceptable, because there was need for expansion in practice, not just on paper, he said. During the meeting, the deputy minister of public health provided information on improving the quality of services, management of contracts and ensuring transparency. He called people’s assessment of health services significant: “Their complaints are being addressed on a regular basis. No advance payments will be made to NGO; they will be paid on completion of tasks.”

World Bank representatives hailed as effective the MoPH plan for boosting the sector. They suggested the ministry and NGOs should expand coordination.

Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, speaking on behalf of a NGO, thanked the president for cooperation from the MoPH and called for the implementation of the principle of rewards and punishments.

Dr. Fazal Mahmood Fazli, senior advisor to the president, explained the method of assessing the delivery of health services should be clear. He called for a robust audit mechanism.

Eng. Ilham Omar Hotaki, procurement director, said: “Health sector contracts have been changed to a programme in coordination with the World Bank.”

Until recently, payments were made to NGOs even before the execution of contracts, he said. From now on, they would be paid on completion of work.

 

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