Posts tagged as: ministry

Gambia: PS Ceesay Says Malaria Control Requires Joint Partnership

By Momodou Faal

Dawda Ceesay, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has stated that Malaria control requires joint partnership, as the task for Malaria control is colossal but it has to be tackled head on by the Gambian population.

PS Ceesay made this remark on Monday at the commemoration of World Malaria Day at Essau in the North Bank Region (NBR).

The event was organised by the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through support from the Global Fund and partners.

PS Ceesay pointed out that The Gambia through the National Malaria Control Programme has put in place key strategies to combat Malaria in the country and among them includes the following interventions; free distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets, to meet universal coverage, targets free access to reproductive and child health services, including prompt and effective treatment for Malaria, Indoor Residual spraying across the country and wide spread community education for behavioural change among others.

Ebrima K. Dampha, the governor of NBR, in his welcoming remarks, said Malaria is the leading cause of deaths for children under five years of age and World Health Organisation estimates that 3000 people die of Malaria everyday.

He pointed out that pregnant women and their unborn babies are particularly vulnerable to malaria, when a woman is pregnant, her immunity is reduced, making her more vulnerable to Malaria infection with dangerous consequences such as abortion, stillbirth, premature delivery and low birth weight.

He thanked the National Malaria Control Programme and their partners for hosting the event in his region.

Balla Kandeh, programme manager of the National Malaria Control Programme stated that World Malaria Day set a platform for intensive debate so that education and awareness levels on malaria are substantially and widely disseminated, noting that the day came as a result of the historic Abuja Summit where 44 African heads of State and Government representatives met in the year 2000 and made a declaration to halve burden of Malaria by 2015.

He added that the day provides countries the opportunity to soberly reflect on the efforts made on tracking the scorch of malaria, noting that it is a moment for stock taken and to renew political commitment, increase advocacy, communication and social mobilisation for Malaria control and prevention.

He thanked Global Fund, WHO, UNICEF and all the partners in the Roll Back Malaria for their support towards the fight against Malaria.

In another development EcoBank donated D52,000 to the NMCP as part of their contribution towards the fight against Malaria. Ebrima Jammeh presented the cheaque noted that the bank has made similar donations to 32 countries in Africa.

Gambia

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Zimbabwe: Mining Firm to Release Chrome Claims to Govt

ZIMASCO is to release a further 1 000 hectares (ha) of chrome claims to government after failing to comply with a State directive last year to cede half of its 49 000ha resource to the State, official reports indicated this week.

The released land was earmarked for distribution to indigenous Zimbabweans in line with directives by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to broaden the participation of locals in the chrome sub sector.

Writing in an internal publication, Mines and Mining Development Minister, Walter Chidhakwa, said Zimasco last year released 21 270ha out of the 22 270ha that it had been asked to release to the State, which was 1 000ha less.

He said government had asked Zimasco to release more land.

Zimasco, which is controlled by Chinese investors, together with ZimAlloys, controlled 80 percent of the country’s chrome reserves before the surrender of ground by Zimasco.

Under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment policy, government said it wanted to make sure that the ceded claims would be handed over to small scale miners, special interest groups and individuals.

War veterans, women’s groups and youths would be among the beneficiaries.

A total of 22 746ha would be required, according to Chidhakwa, who wrote in a special chrome edition of Mineral Beneficiation & Value Addition for the first quarter of 2017.

Zimasco controlled 49 000ha of claims across the country before giving up some of its claims.

Discussions with the two ferrochrome giants, which are said to be holding more ground than what their 50-year operation plans are projecting, have been ongoing for the past two years.

But while Zimasco agreed to release claims, Chidhakwa said negotiations with ZimAlloys, a firm that is controlled by Zimbabwean investors, were still ongoing.

“Discussions with Zimasco are complete as all the final agreements have been reached and 50 percent of their claims have been handed over to government,” he said.

“It is noted that this figure is 1 000 hectares short of the original 22 270ha earmarked for distribution. This is being addressed through the ground truthing exercise… to ensure that Zimasco complies with the agreed relinquishment of 50 percent of its total claims. In view of this, government is going to distribute the chrome mining claims released by Zimasco. Zimasco released 21 270ha. In Mashonaland Central it released (9 643 ha), Mashonaland West (2 390ha), Midlands (8 563ha) and Masvingo (674ha).

“However, discussions with ZimAlloys are still ongoing and we anticipate reaching an agreement shortly,” he added.

Chidhakwa said Zimbabwe had the second largest chrome deposits in the world. However, for a very long time, over 80 percent of these deposits had been held by Zimasco and ZimAlloys.

“The Zimbabwean nationals interested in the chrome industry participated only as tributors to these two multinational companies and other small companies that have recently entered the sub sector. In order to broaden the indigenisation in the chrome sector and empowering Zimbabwean citizens to create more employment, the government directed that 50 percent of the claims held by Zimasco and ZimAlloys must be released and made available to other players to ensure wider inclusion of indigenous players in the chrome sector,” he said.

He said the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development had therefore been discussing with Zimasco and ZimAlloys for the release of some of their claims.

“Government also took note of the need to generate much needed revenue for the fiscus by putting idle claims to use after noting that Zimasco and ZimAlloys, from their 50-year plans, possessed vast tracts of land they would still have in their possession,” said Chidhakwa.

The new report comes as Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister, Jason Machaya, has said the bulk of the claims ceded by Zimasco to the State were exhausted.

He promised to take action against the mining giant.

Doctors Blocked From Kenya, Told to Report in 2 Weeks

Photo: The Citizen

Doctors during operation (file photo).

By John Namkwahe

Few days after President John Magufuli ordered employment, locally, of 258 doctors who initially registered to work in Kenya, the government on Friday published the names of doctors and areas where they have been posted.

Notice issued by the government asked the doctors to report to their respective duty stations within 14 days from the date of the announcement.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Mpoki Ulisubsya indicated in a statement that some of doctors will work under President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government and others will be under the ministry.

According to the statement, the doctors have been directed to report with their original birth certificates, original secondary education certificates, their professional certificates, certificates issued by Medical Council of Tanzania and two passport size photos.

According to the government plans, doctors aged below 45 years will be offered permanent contracts they will be directly enrolled in the pension fund while those aged above 45 will be offered a two year contract employment which can be renewed.

Tanzania

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Malaria Still an Epidemic in Burundi

By Innocent Habonimana

The situation of malaria still calls for more control actions a month after the disease was declared an epidemic on 13 March by the Ministry of public Health.

Dionise Nizigiyimana, the Director of the National Integrated Programme for the Fight against Malaria (PNILP) says “though, nationally, its registered cases tend downwards, malaria is still an epidemic on the 15th week of 2017”.

He says that 2,745,417 cases of malaria have been registered by the 15th week of 2017.

Critical situation is mainly faced by northern, eastern and southern regions of Burundi that are still beyond the epidemic threshold.

In some of the provinces of the regions such as Kirundo, Cankuzo and Karuzi, the prevalence rate is beyond 100 per cent.

Nizigiyimana says, the cases of malaria have remarkably diminished in the province of Ngozi where piloting study of the efficiency of indoor residual spraying was carried out in two health districts.

Burundi

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Uganda CCM and the Global Fund At Odds Over Funding Request

analysisBy David Garmaise

Proposed program split and stand-alone RSSH component turned down

On 20 March 2017, the deadline for applications in Window 1 of the current funding cycle, the Uganda country coordinating mechanism (CCM) submitted a funding request containing three components: TB/HIV, malaria and RSSH (resilient and sustainable systems for health). The CCM also submitted a proposed program split for its 2017-2019 allocation.

The Global Fund Secretariat turned down the proposed program split. In so doing, the Secretariat effectively told Uganda that it could not use a portion of its allocation for a stand-alone RSSH component. The CCM was unhappy with the position taken by the Secretariat.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at what happened.

The story starts with the announcement in December 2016 that Uganda was allocated $465 million for 2017-2019. In the allocation letter that it sent to the Uganda CCM, the Secretariat said that the $465 million was “for HIV, TB, malaria and building resilient and sustainable systems for health.” In the letter, the Fund provided the following indicative program split:

HIV – $255.6 million

TB – $21.1 million

Malaria – $188.3 million

Total – $465.0 million

The indicative program split did not specify any amount for RSSH. This was not unusual; this is how it works in all countries. While the Global Fund encourages investment in RSSH that will improve treatment and prevention for HIV, TB or malaria, it does not specify a separate amount for RSSH in the indicative program splits. Instead, the Fund encourages countries to use some of the funds shown for HIV, TB and malaria in the indicative program split if they want to finance RSSH activities.

In its allocation letter, the Global Fund said that it “strongly encouraged” a joint application including two or more disease components and RSSH investments. It added, “Should you decide to submit separate disease component applications, we request that all cross-cutting RSSH interventions [be] included in one funding request, ideally the first one…. The funding designated to cross-cutting RSSH interventions does not need to be documented in the program split unless a stand-alone RSSH funding request is planned.”

The allocation letter said, “As part of the principle of country ownership, it is up to the CCM to assess the best use of funds across eligible disease components… . Applicants can either accept the Global Fund program split between components or propose a revised split, which will be reviewed by the Global Fund.”

The Uganda CCM proposed a revised program split that included $21.3 million for a stand-alone RSSH component. To arrive at this amount, the CCM proposed to reduce the TB portion of its indicative program split by $1.3 million and the malaria portion by $20.0 million. This produced the following proposed program split:

HIV – $255.6 million

TB – $19.8 million

Malaria – $168.3 million

RSSH – $21.3 million

Total – $465.0 million

Stand-alone RSSH component

There are currently two principal recipients (PRs) for Uganda’s HIV, TB, malaria and HSS grants: the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and the AIDS Support Organization (TASO). The CCM secretariat told Aidspan that the CCM proposed adding a third PR to manage the HIV, TB and malaria grants and proposed RSSH initiatives.

According to the CCM, the RSSH component of its funding request contained six modules and related interventions (see Table 1 for details).

Table 1: Modules and interventions included in Uganda’s RSSH funding request

Module

Interventions

Strengthen financial management and oversight

Strengthening the audit function for Global Fund grants in the Office of the Auditor General.

Strengthening internal audit and oversight processes for Global Fund grants in the project management unit of MoFPED.

Supporting an annual physical verification of assets procured through the Global Fund.

Strengthen in-country procurement and supply chain systems

Expanding storage capacity at the national medical stores and at a regional JMS warehouse.

Strengthening the logistics management information systems at health facilities.

Strengthen data systems

Strengthening the capacity of health management information systems (HMIS) to include data for HIV, TB and malaria indicators, and analyzing and using the data.

Expanding, integrating and harmonizing logistic management information systems (LMIS), electronic medical records and the Human Resource Information System with HMIS.

Improving routine HMIS data collection, reporting, analysis and use.

Conducting assessments of health facilities.

Strengthen and align to national strategic plans

Building the capacity of the Ministry of Health (MOH) to do modelling for HIV, TB and malaria programming.

Supporting oversight and monitoring meetings of civil society organizations’ and PLWHIV groups’ SCEs (self-coordinating entities).

Strengthening the capacity for integrated regional performance monitoring and supporting supervision of HIV, TB and malaria activities.

Supporting (a) integrated regional HIV/TB, malaria and sector review meetings; (b) MOH supervision visits to districts and 14 regional referral hospitals; and (c) quarterly supervision and mentoring to health facilities by performance monitoring teams.

Community responses and systems

Strengthening and scaling up community-based mechanisms for ongoing monitoring of health policies, performance and quality of service.

Strengthening community-led advocacy initiatives and developing leadership skills, supporting participation in community, national and international events, and engaging “duty-bearers” for practice and policy reform in HIV, TB, malaria, sexual and gender-based violence, and human rights in 25 districts.

Strengthening coordination between district disease-specific networks to address bottlenecks related to access, care and retention in HIV, TB, malaria and reproductive, maternal and child health services.

Supporting mobilization and institutional capacity building for networks of people living with the diseases and other vulnerable groups.

Program management

Grant management.

PR2 administrative costs for RSSH, HIV/TB and malaria grants.

Rejection of proposed program split

In an email sent to Vinand Nantulya, the chair of the CCM, on 23 March 2017, the fund portfolio manager for Uganda, Dumitru Laticevschi, said, “In the situation when vital TB and Malaria commodities remain un-budgeted, we do not accept (a) the reduction of the TB allocation by US$1,266,115; (b) of the malaria allocation – by US$20,000,000 and (c) the creation of a stand-alone RSSH allocation of US$21,266,115, mainly covering higher-risk activities.”

In a separate letter the same day, Laticevschi elaborated on the Fund’s reasons for rejecting the proposed revised program split. “Our review indicates that mission-critical interventions remain unfunded,” Laticevschi said. “LLINs [long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets] are budgeted at 52% of the need; GeneXpert at 40%.”

Laticevschi said that the $21.3 million that the CCM proposed for the stand-alone RSSH component would fund interventions “which either belong to the disease allocations, or are outside the immediate focus of the portfolio.”

“The RHSS funding request includes alarmingly large budgets for high-risk activities, without evident links to the desired systemic and disease outcomes,” Laticevschi said. “The high administrative costs ($3M), HR ($2.25M) and travel-related costs ($6.7 million) cannot be justified. The value of communications materials (budgeted at $1.88 million) is questionable, and we do not support the dilution of the Global Fund’s focus by the proposed expansion into the private pharmaceutical sector ($1.18M).”

Laticevschi said that “on the basis of the inefficient allocation, we have rejected the proposed disease split [sic]. To enable the progression to the TRP review, we request that before the 31st March 2017, the program split is reversed to the one communicated by the Global Fund on 15 December 2016.” Laticevschi added: “We discourage the stand-alone design of systems strengthening grants.”

Reaction of the CCM secretariat

In an email to CCM members dated 23 March 2017, the CCM secretariat said that with Uganda’s standalone cross-cutting RSSH grant being scrapped, the country was left with a huge gap in funding to cover the PRs’ grant management costs as well as administrative and human resources costs for the cross-cutting interventions, coordination and oversight components.

The CCM secretariat described additional repercussions of not approving a program split that contained funds for a stand-alone RSSH component: “The Global Fund will not invest in strengthening Uganda’s Procurement and Supply Chain Management systems, specifically – strengthening the country’s warehousing and storage capacity.”

The CCM secretariat explained that Uganda’s health system comprises both the public sector and the private sector (which includes the not-for-profit and private for-profit sectors). In the RSSH funding request, $1.2 million had been allocated to strengthening supply chain infrastructure – specifically for the design, construction, installation, equipping and commissioning of a new warehouse for JMS (Joint Medical Stores), which is a private, not-for-profit warehouse.

The CCM secretariat said that the non-public sector PR, TASO, currently stores and distributes all the health and pharmaceutical products it procures with Global Fund grants through JMS warehouses. Despite JMS being a private sector warehouse, it handles, stores and distributes Global Fund-supported commodities procured by TASO and distributes these to various health facilities including not-for-profit (faith-based) health care facilities and hospitals where a significant proportion of Ugandans access healthcare services.

In addition, the CCM secretariat said, in the RSSH funding request, $5.7 million had been allocated to the completion of the national medical stores (NMS) new warehouse. “Scrapping the standalone cross-cutting RSSH grant will mean that the Global Fund will not invest any more funds in strengthening and expanding the country’s current warehousing, storage and distribution capacity.”

Yet, the CCM secretariat said, Uganda’s Global Fund grants are heavily commoditized, with significant funding already allocated to, or invested in, the procurement of essential medicines, health care and pharmaceutical products. “Stopping investments in strengthening warehousing and storage capacity may not be a sustainable approach given Uganda’s commodity-heavy Global Fund grant portfolio,” the CCM secretariat stated.

Revised funding request

An emergency meeting of the Uganda CCM Board was held on 29 March to discuss the situation. At that meeting, the CCM decided that in view of the position taken by the Global Fund, it had no choice but to abandon its plans for submitting a stand-alone RSSH component.

The CCM asked the Global Fund Secretariat for an extension to 6 April 2017 to revise and resubmit its funding request. It was granted an extension to 4 April. This allowed Uganda two days to respond to any items that the Global Fund Secretariat flagged for clarification ahead of the 6 April deadline for forwarding all funding requests to the Technical Review Panel (TRP). The CCM submitted its revised funding request on 4 April.

In its revised request, the CCM took the amount it had budgeted for the stand-alone RSSH component and re-allocated it to the other components, as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Re-allocation of Uganda funding request

Redistribution of the $21.3 million previously allocated to the stand-alone RSSH component of the funding request

1.

Malaria component of the funding request

$18.4 m

2.

TB component of the funding request

$2.5 m

3.

HIV component of the funding request

$0.3 m

TOTAL

$21.2 m

Note: Discrepancy in the total due to rounding.

Of the $18.4 million re-allocated to the malaria component of the funding request, $17.6 million was to cover LLINs and related program activities. Of the $2.5 million re-allocated to the TB component, $1.3 million was for GeneXpert equipment, accessories and TB-specific community activities related to finding TB cases; and $1.2 million was for strengthening community responses and systems.

When it submitted the revised funding request to the Global Fund on 4 April, the CCM also submitted a revised program split, as follows:

HIV – $256.0 million

TB – $22.4 million

Malaria – $186.7 million

Total – $465.1 million

This program split was accepted and the funding request has been sent to the TRP.

The CCM has also asked the Government of Uganda to fund RSSH interventions totalling $4.6 million, and it has asked in-country development partners to fund $0.5 million.

Additional feedback from the Global Fund Secretariat

In light of what happened with the Uganda funding request, when we were preparing this article we posed several questions to Seth Faison, the Global Fund’s Director of Communications. Here are three of those questions along with Faison’s responses:

1. Question: Does the Fund encourage countries to create stand-alone cross-cutting RSSH components?

Answer: The Global Fund strongly encourages countries to invest in strengthening systems for health that will improve treatment and prevention of HIV, TB or malaria. We encourage stand-alone RSSH components, if and when they make sense. We oppose setting up separate RSSH components for their own sake. In many situations, it makes more sense to invest in disease programs that include elements of systems strengthening. In all cases, each application for funding has to be compelling, taking into account country context.

2. Question: How can the Fund, on the one hand, encourage countries to divert funds from their HIV, TB and malaria allocations in order to come up with enough money for a stand-alone cross-cutting RSSH component – and then, on the other hand, criticize countries for “weakening” their response to the diseases in the process? Where else can a country come up with money for an RSSH component except by taking it from the HIV, TB and malaria components?

Answer: We do not encourage countries to divert funds from HIV, TB and malaria allocations; we encourage countries to do so only where it makes sense. In this instance in Uganda, the proposed RSSH element did not have a clear link to how the expected systems would benefit the disease component. More important, it would have reduced funding for essential treatment, where essential treatment is urgent and significant. Funding for RSSH should never get in the way of procuring or acquiring indispensable commodities such as ARVs or mosquito nets.

3. Question: Does not at least some of the feedback and guidance provided to Uganda by the Secretariat fall within the purview of the TRP? The way this has evolved, Uganda developed an RSSH funding request with six modules and numerous interventions, but the request won’t ever be reviewed by the TRP.

Answer: The Global Fund Secretariat can and should make basic determinations before a proposal goes to the TRP. In this case, the funding request did not make sense. It was going to be a new initiative funded under a new PR, implying extra administrative costs, while essential treatment would have to be cut.

Editor’s Note: Regarding this last answer from Faison, as noted above, the CCM secretariat clarified to Aidspan that the proposed third PR would manage the HIV, TB and malaria grants as well as the RSSH initiatives.

The letters and emails referred to in this article are on file with the author.

Concern for Girl Child, As Early Marriages Kick-Off Fresh Debate

Dodoma — Lawmakers yesterday tasked the government to explain when it will specifically revise the heavily criticized Law of Marriage Act of 1976 in order to protect young girls from being married off at a tender age.

MPs from the opposition and ruling parties sounded the ‘red’ signals here Tuesday when debating budget estimates for the Ministry of Constitution and Legal Affairs, tabled by Prof Paramagamba Kabudi.

They said there was need for the government to reinforce the law in the face of “increasing numbers” of child marriages and school drop-outs across the country.

“This is against the constitution … a number of girls are denied their constitutional rights and the existing law is too discriminative,” Ms Amina Mollel, Special Seats MP (CCM), said when debating the ministry’s budget estimates. So, she queried: “When will the government bring to parliament a proposal to amend the outdated marriage law?”

Debate on the marriage act started since 1994, with mostly contested sections being 13 and 17 of the law that allows a boy child to marry at age of 18 — while a girl child could marry at the tender age of 14. Special Seats MP Ms Salome Makamba (Chadema) said the government was taking (too) long to revise the law – at a time when a number of women were dying on delivery beds.

“Maternal mortality is on rise because of child marriages … as a woman and a representative I need answers from the government,” she said.

She highlighted that the marriage act of 1967 was against the convention of children’s right and contravened global sustainable development goals 2030 which, among others, seeks to promote equality for all.

However, Attorney General, Gorge Masaju said the government was taking appropriate steps to revise the law.

For his part, Constitution and Legal Affairs minister Prof Kabudi acknowledged the law was under review, but stressed that more time was needed to facilitate consensus building among all parties. He said Tanzania had a good marriage law, for a start, saying other countries had failed to write the same documents due to customs and religious differences.

“This law has some positive elements … we cannot just come up with a new law … we’re working on it to ensure we remove the outdated sections and retain the good practices without affecting religious and cultural beliefs,” he said. The National Assembly subsequently endorsed the ministry’s budget for FY 2017/18.

Tanzania

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Rwanda, Netherlands Look to Strengthen Ties

By Sharon Kantengwa

Rwanda and the Kingdom of Netherlands have pledged to maintain strong ties with emphasis on the judicial sector.

The pledge was made during an event to celebrate the 50th birthday of King Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand of the Kingdom of Netherlands on Wednesday in Kigali.

The Dutch Ambassador to Rwanda, Frédérique de Man, said his government is looking forward to continue cooperation between the two countries to contribute to a professional, accessible and efficient justice sector.

“Over the years, we have assisted the justice sector in achieving a lot both in infrastructure and in capacity building,” she said.

“I have been saying this often and I will continue saying it: the Netherlands finds it very important to work also closely with civil society and not only as a service provider. We feel strongly that civil society can provide a positive input for an enhanced policy dialogue in the justice sector.

“Furthermore, public space for debate on policies and service delivery is key. Through constructive dialogue, civil society can assist us to improve further and to become more effective.”

The envoy said several activities and events that focus on young Rwandan entrepreneurs will be highlighted in coming weeks.

“This fits into the aid-trade approach that is the backbone of the Dutch presence here, for example, in the fight against stunting, in assisting with feeder roads and local development, integrated water resources management, among others, and at the same time working toward more business and investments,” she said.

Claude Nikobisanzwe, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, reaffirmed the relationship between Netherlands and Rwanda, particularly in post-Genocide era, in rebuilding capacity and infrastructure of the justice sector.

“In a relatively short time, we have built strong ties that are witnessed by the closeness and the permanent political dialogue and consultations among leaders of our two countries,” Nikobisanzwe said.

“Now we are happy that our cooperation in the justice sector goes beyond financial support, but also exchange experience and best practices between the judicial institutions of both countries.”

Already, several Dutch companies have their presence in Rwanda, they are in a variety of sectors including food industry, transport, renewable energy construction, and ICT.

The number of Dutch business missions to Rwanda has considerably increased with focus on tourism, agriculture and horticulture.

Rwanda

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Uganda: Improve Health Units to Decongest Referrals

editorial

The Ministry of Health has said it will no longer accept to treat patients who just walk into regional referral hospitals without referral letters from lower health facilities (see Daily Monitor, April 27). According to Dr Anthony Mbonye, the director general of health services, patients who are not referred are causing confusion at referral hospitals and are clogging the entire healthcare system.

Ideally, a national or regional referral hospital is meant to handle especially complicated or critical illnesses. However, this is not what pertains in the country’s healthcare system.

In the quest for better health, patients suffering from whatever ailment, some as simple as flue, will visit any health facility to access treatment. As such, the ministry’s plan to streamline the referral system is long overdue.

Nevertheless, for the ministry to successfully achieve its objective, there are issues that it should take into consideration. For instance, does it bother the ministry to see that in spite of the presence of lower health facilities – health centre IIs, IIIs, and IVs, many patients still throng regional referral hospitals in search of treatment? In here lies the elephant in the room.

Streamlining the referral system should not start and end with denying patients access to referral hospitals. This should begin with the ministry taking cautious steps: Providing all the necessary equipment and accessories–syringes, razor blades, tickets, gloves, pens, stationery, etc. required at health units.

The second one is to ensure all lower health units are satisfactorily stocked with the required medicines. The ministry should ensure that patients who visit health centres get the services they deserve and not walk away empty-handed or at best, after being served just painkiller.

Thirdly, lower health centres should have healthcare professionals who attend to patients as and when they visit. When patients do not get services when they visit parish, sub-county or constituency health units, they will have no alternative but to throng referral hospitals where they expect to get better services.

Besides, the ministry should go an extra mile and ensure that medical personnel across the board, especially those serving in the hard-to-reach areas, are adequately motivated to boost their efficiency and commitment to work.

In many cases, patients, including pregnant mothers, have visited health centres only to find no nurse, midwife or doctor to attend to them. This is absurd.

In a nutshell, ring-fencing regional referral hospitals should not be done mechanically by merely blocking access yet this can best be achieved methodically through improving the lower units.

Uganda

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Zimbabwe: Govt Develops Diaspora Website

Photo: Ivan David Gomez Arce/Flickr

(File photo).

Zimbabwe is crafting a national diaspora website, aimed at facilitating the engagement and participation of citizens living out of the country in national development, the Ministry of Macro Economic Planning and Investment Promotion has said.

In a statement, the ministry said the website was part of operationalising the diaspora policy.

“The purpose of the website is to promote diaspora engagement and participation of the Zimbabwean diaspora in national development. Among others, the website will showcase the opportunities in different sectors of the economy,” it said.

Cabinet last year approved the Zimbabwe National Diaspora Policy (ZNDP) that seeks to harness the social and intellectual capital of people living outside the country for national development.

The Ministry said the website would be filled with relevant information on the opportunities in the country that the Zimbabwean diaspora may want to take up.

“This applies to opportunities in both the public and private sectors. Money transfer agencies, operators in the tourism sector and financial services sector are particularly encouraged to advertise on this website,” it said.

“The ministry also cordially invites Zimbabwean diaspora associations which are willing to participate in national development to send through their profiles so that they may also be showcased on the website,” it added.

The national diaspora policy is also expected to coordinate engagement between government and Zimbabweans in the diaspora, with a view to encourage beneficial mutual relations to drive economic development.

Statistics suggest that Zimbabweans living outside the country, have emigrated mainly to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2014, diaspora remittances surged to $837,4 million from $794 in 2013, with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe saying the flows as having helped improve the country’s external financial position.

New Ziana

Zimbabwe

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Eritrea: International Malaria Day Observed

Asmara — The International Malaria Day was observed yesterday under the theme “Preventing Malaria: Let’s Ensure Our Health”. The event was held in Embadorho at national level.

Mr. Meles Geresus, Head of malaria prevention in the Ministry of Health, said that persistent effort is being exerted to eradicate malaria through increased public awareness and conducting sustainable popular sanitation campaign.

Mr. Mehari Zaid, Head of administration and finance in the ministry, also indicated that Eritrea has reduced the prevalence of malaria by 75% and stands fourth in the worldwide chart.

Eritrea

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