Political interference distablises health ministry, says PS Barry

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, Cherno Omar Barry, has said that his ministry like any other ministry suffered constant leadership challenges not because those mandated to lead were in any way short of performing their responsibilities but because the political interference at the top destabilised the leadership, thus causing much harm in the government structure and disrupting the proper coordination and implementations of activities.

PS Barry made these remarks on Monday during the opening of annual health sector review held at the Sheraton hotel.

He stated that it was the moment to review the sector and determine perhaps an even more important role for the ministry; the role of fulfilling its duty of accountability to the population.

‘The joint review of the health sector is meant to review progress in the sector and identify issues that need to be addressed in order to improve the performance of the Ministry of Health,’ he said.

He disclosed that the annual review also provides a common basis for understanding sectors’ issues and priorities and the findings and recommendations that emanate at the end of the review could be followed up through action plans and policy dialogue.

This, he said, demonstrating their own accountability, the ministry also continues to push all development partners and actors across the health sector to be accountable for their work to improve health in The Gambia through monitoring programmes and implementation.

According to the PS, the national health sector strategic plan 2014-2020 as the long-term objective for the health sector was to provide adequate, effective, affordable and quality health care for all Gambians.

He said the immediate objectives are to improve the administration and management of health services, provide better infrastructure for referral hospitals and primary health care services to all communities with well motivated and trained staffs and establish an efficient procurement system to ensure effective health service delivery for all.

For her part, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Hon. Saffie Lowe Ceesay, said the new administration at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare that came into being in 2017, took the decision to showcase renewed leadership of health and ownership of policy and governance process to bring all health stakeholders together to hold this joint annual review.

She said according to the national health sector strategic plan 2014 to 2020 , the long -term objective for the health sector was to provide accessible, adequate, effective, affordable and quality health care for all Gambians.

The immediate objectives among others, are to improve the administration and management of health services, to provide better infrastructure for referral hospital and health facilities in order to extend and strengthen primary health care services to all communities with well- motivated and trained staff.

Author: Abdoulie Nyockeh
Source: Picture: Cherno Omar Barry PS Ministry of Health