Vice-President Salous Chilima on Tuesday met five Cabinet ministers in his continued busy schedule where on a daily basis he is briefed on the reforms the ministries are implementing or plan to undertake as government embark on the journey to reform the public sector.
The first minister to meet Chilima on Tuesday was Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo who revealed that the ministry is implementing an initiative to make Central Hospitals autonomous as well as reforms to fight theft of drugs in hospitals.
Kandodo said plans are at advanced stage to decentralise the management of Kamuzu Central Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Mzuzu Central Hospital, Zomba Central Hospital and Zomba Mental Hospital.
She said the initiative will help to enhance efficiency in the operations of central hospitals.
“The ministry already conducted management and capacity assessments in the mentioned hospitals as well as developed Trust Deeds and Terms of References for the Central Hospital Boards,” reported Kandodo.
Chilima said government is pleased with the initiative and urged the ministry to speed up the remaining processes that include finalisation of the composition of the board to move forward with this reform.
During the meeting, Kandodo also said the ministry is also working on reforms to revitalize optional paying services in some central and district hospitals as one way of generating revenue improving health service delivery in government hospitals.
” Apart from reducing congestion, the initiative would also mean that in future, with laid out guidelines, the hospitals could retain some percentage of the revenue to improve service delivery,”she said.
Kandodo said Mzimba, Nkhatabay, Mulanje, Nkhotakota, Chitipa and Mwanza district hospitals have already piloted the process of optional paying .
Malawi’s Secretary for Health Charles Mwansambo said the paying policy was never abolished, but that most public hospitals made unilateral decisions to abolish it after they felt that they were not directly benefiting much from the money realised from the hospital fees.
In the afternoon, Chilima met Minister of Information Gospel Kazako and Deputy Minister of Defence Jean Sendeza.
Kazako briefed Chilima on reforms to upgrade the entire government ICT infrastructure.
” We all agreed that this upgrade must be achieved as soon as possible because ICT will be an enabler for implementation of various reforms from other ministries ranging from e-agriculture to e-wallet,” said Chilima.
The Veep also proposed to the Minister to work on a cut-off point where senior government officials must stop transacting government business on private emails, saying such tendency can not be allowed to go on.
Kazako said his ministry is reviewing the mandate and structure of the department of E-Government in order to roll out ICT services in all government ministries and departments.
” I suggested that the department must be elevated and become a stand-alone Agency with exclusive mandate driving the ICT agenda of the government. In this digital era, the E-Government department should not be a by-the-way kind of department. It must be restructured,” said Chilima.
Kazako also presented a number of game-changing reform areas that will improve the communications industry and Chilima pledged to continue discussing the reforms and take the suggestions on board in consultation with other stakeholders.
On her part, Sendeza briefed Chilima on five reform areas that the ministry is undertaking which include commercialization of Malawi Defence Force Engineers Battalion, commercialisation of Malawi Defence Force Agriculture Production Unit and the establishment of the Military Referral Hospital.
” Once operational, the hospital will provide modern Health services to Malawians and help government save forex on foreign medical referrals. Land has already been identified in Area 35 in Lilongwe,” said the minister.
The Veep then suggested to the Minister that the hospital should be a priority because it is five years behind schedule.
Chilima said he was impressed with the reform to commercialise the Agriculture Unit so that in the long run the unit will act as an alternative source of MDF rations.
Other ministers Chilima met were for Mining, Rashid Gaaffeer and for Industry Roy Kachale.
The Veep announced that he will be meeting the ministers again in the 90 days to track progress and give further direction on the reforms where necessary.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :