Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care will deploy teams to conduct monthly hospital assessments to address operational challenges at the country’s health institutions.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dr Agnes Mahomva revealed this in an interview at the United Bulawayo Hospitals on the sidelines of the launch of a management concept, KAIZEN, a Japanese philosophy being adopted by the local health sector.
KAIZEN, which refers to business activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees was launched in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to improve management of the country’s health sector.
Dr Mahomva said reports compiled after the rapid assessments will be made public.
“We are going to be doing rapid assessments every month. We are working flat out. On Monday the teams are meeting and before the end of the week the technical team is going to set out the tools to go out again with additional indicators which will tell us what exactly is going on,” said Dr Mahomva.
She said through the rapid assessments, the Health and Child Care Ministry is going to improve distribution of scarce resources at the country’s hospitals.
“We are very serious about looking at exactly what is going on so that we target the little resources that we have to the right places not to just spread it out. We have a challenge; we are coming out of a crisis and what are the gaps that we still have? That assessment is going to tell us the gaps. We are going to do those assessments monthly and we also promise that once we have them, we are more than happy to make sure that you get the reports,” she said.
Dr Mahomva said her Ministry does not want to withhold information that the public can use to assist in improving the country’s health sector.
She said it was her belief that the rapid assessment reports would enable the country to move towards achieving the universal access to health care.
“The challenges that you ask us are your challenges as well and what is it that you can do to help us to work together to get Zimbabwe where we want it to be, our health institutions and so on. We are aiming for universal health coverage and that’s the plan that we have now and our systems just have to work,” she said.
Dr Mahomva said the Ministry had its first rapid assessment in November as it wanted to evaluate the impact of doctors’ strike.
She said the Ministry’s report on that differs from what the public is saying about the health sector.
“We had four teams going out to be able to gather data that was most recent not old data that eventually gradually gets to us at headquarters. And lo and behold we were pleasantly surprised because we kept hearing these stories that there are no drugs but that assessment clearly demonstrated that things have improved. Definitely not to where we want them to be but they are improving,” she said.
She said the Health Ministry will continue to employ innovative ways to improve health care delivery.
Dr Mahomva said the Ministry is concerned that some patients were dying in their homes without visiting hospitals. “When we started 2020, we said we need to relook and see how we can also account for deaths that might have happened in the community because you might be aware that people are not coming to the institution and nobody is going to die in the institutions. Are they alive in the community? Are they dying in the community? Those are the assessment that we now want to move on to,” said Dr Mahomva. — @nqotshili