The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine has
expressed frustration over the continued poor performance of commissioners in
the Ministry. She says that the commissioners continue to being promoted automatically
without a review.
Atwiine who was speaking on Saturday during a meeting organized by an NGO
Center for Advanced Strategic Leadership (CASTLE) said that her efforts
to get rid of non-performers has resulted in her being dragged to court.
//Cue in: “You get commissioners ……
Cue out: …… deliverables are not there”. //
She says when she suspended some senior officials that she
couldn’t reveal, she was instead taken to court.
//Cue in: “I have sent some people …
Cue out: ……. no one follows up”. //
According to Atwine, rather than giving people permanent and
pensionable jobs, public service procedures should change to contracts that can
be renewed with good performance.
Atwine says that as a short term remedy, they want to digitize performance management such that
when a person signs in and reports to work they can track their performance
on-line without having to visit work stations physically.
She said the plan was to start this process with the regional referral
hospitals, although she adds automation has not received support from those
that are supposed to implement it.
However, Jacob Simunyi, the Public
Relations Officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who attended the meeting
said digitization alone cannot guarantee results saying it as cosmetic and unfruitful.
“Take the URA Online services, for instance, they are almost impossible to work
with. They seem to be wired to fail the client so that they are forced to hire
agents who work as intermediaries at a cost. The same could be said of passport
applications under Ministry of Internal Affairs”, he said urging that if
automation is adopted there should be mechanisms to ensure that they work and
are not merely cosmetic cover-ups”.
However, the planned digitalization is not the first attempt to make health
workers and public servants perform. Already, health facilities are fitted with
biometric fingerprint technology to track reporting to work with funding from
But, Atwine says the issue is not just reporting to work but what they do when
they report. She says that many doctors on duty are glued on social media as
queues of patients wait to see them, the same thing happening at the Ministry
The COVID-19 pandemic that came with limiting personal
interactions and encouraging people to work from home she says has particularly
hurt her Ministry as officials show up for only a few hours and spend time on
social media and reading newspapers.
Sharifah Buzeki, the Commissioner Public Service Inspection and
Quality Assurance in the Ministry of Public Service said they are required to
conduct performance reviews of public servants every quarter but this has been
challenged by the fact people have now been working remotely.
She said they are currently discussing how well they can monitor
people who work from home because performance management was added to areas for
audit starting last financial year.
//Cue in: “We are required …..
Cue out: ……. That is
According to figures by the Ministry of Public Service, in just
one year since performance management was made an audit area, an inspection
of employee performance has improved from 53% to 85%.
However, Buzeki says hiring on contract as suggested by Atwiine is
one of the things being explored by her ministry.