Health Service Commission pledges to improve access to health

EMPLOYEE welfare and delivery of quality healthcare to all parts of the country are top of the priority list for the Health Service Commission that was sworn-in by President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday.

The Commission, which will be chaired by Dr Vincent Hungwe, who is also the chair of the Public Service Commission, will assume full control of the staff in all State health services.

Dr Hungwe will be deputised by Dr Abigail Rugare Kangwende, a medical practitioner with a wealth of experience.

Other members of the Commission who were sworn in include former Health Secretary, Brigadier Gen (Rtd) Dr Gerald Gwinji, Dr Edward Makondo, Mr Engelbert Mbengwa, Mrs Josephine Mwakutuya and Mrs Mercy Gwaunza.

The HSC was established through the Health Service Amendment Act of 2022, replacing the Health Services Board and will administer the health sector.

Speaking soon after taking oath of office, Dr Hungwe said the HSC was ready to support the Ministry of Health and Child Care and other health service delivery institutions in ensuring they deliver on their mandate.

“The expectations are to support all the institutions that are responsible for the delivery of health services across the entirety of the country without leaving any place and anyone behind.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care requires support of the Commission in terms of a more clearly defined strategy, organisational purpose and also the nature of the strategic interventions that it will drive in the area of health service delivery.”

Beyond advice and support on strategic planning, Dr Hungwe said the HSC would also provide the ministry with effective and efficient support to structure itself in a manner that would make it possible to perform its functions as efficiently, effectively and equitably as it ought to be.

He said the Commission would also prioritise the recruitment, selection and appointment of personnel that are fit for purpose to undertake the tasks and assignments at hand.

“We want to attend to issues relating to improvement of salaries and conditions of service for our staff. But before they join the ministry, we would also want to see a Health Service Commission that also works to improve the health delivery system itself.”

Dr Hungwe stressed the need to effectively mobilise resources to support most of the work that will be undertaken by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

He said the improvement of the health system is a function of a number of enablers which include having a clear strategic purpose.

“Strategy gives you a controlled and predictable way of performing your functions. But these functions cannot be performed outside the structure and that structure cannot be driven in the absence of people that have the requisite skills and competencies to perform the functions. 

“However, the ministry is not the only institution that delivers health in this country, there is a multiplicity of stakeholders that are also going to play a role in order to make sure that health is delivered. So stakeholder mapping, identification, engagement and management is going to also play a key role as an instrument to ensure that services are delivered via the multiplicity of both public and private sector actors within the health sector domain,” Dr Hungwe said.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa has also sworn into the Public Service Commission, Ambassador James Manzou, who is the former Foreign Affairs Secretary and Dr Millicent Mombeshora.

Speaking after taking his oath at State House yesterday, Ambassador Manzou said he hoped to bring in his experience in the diplomatic service to the Commission.

“I am really excited to have been appointed a commissioner in the Public Service Commission and I am grateful to the President for the appointment. The PSC is a very important institution in terms of recruitment, skilling and as you know, it is important for us to have a civil service that is fit for purpose because it is key to the implementation of the national development plan but also to the achievement of vision 2030. 

“I have 43 years of diplomatic service so I do hope I can bring some diversity into the commission in terms of issues of an international nature. I believe I gained quite an experience in those 43 years from other countries in terms of good practices, in terms of governance and I am hopeful that I will make a difference,” he said.

Herald

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