MINISTRY OF HEALTH ABOLISHES HEALTH DIPLOMATIC POSITIONS AND MERGES DIRECTORATESThe Ministry of Health has completed its restructuring of Departments and positions.The Organization Restructuring Report shows that major changes have been done.The Departments of Health Promotion, Environment and Social Determinants; National Malaria Elimination Centre; Public Health and Global Health have been merged into one department to be called “Department of Public Health”.Chief among the positions to suffer restructuring are senior Diplomatic Positions of Counsellor (Health) created in 2018 for Zambian Embassies in South Africa, USA, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, China and Japan which have been abolished with immediate effect and the doctors manning these positions placed on recall.Only the Counsellor Health position based in Geneva will remain.The re-organisation of the Ministry of Health headquarters will result in an anticipated decrease in staffing by 183 posts, from the current 555 filled posts to 372 proposed posts. Accordingly, the annual cost implication for implementing the new organisation structure has reduced by ZMW 41,150,529.89 from the current cost of ZMW 89,399,837.29 per annum to ZMW48,249,307.40 per annum.The decrease in the cost of personal emoluments is largely attributed to the merging and phasing out of some Departments.The Departments of Clinical Care and Diagnostic Services and Nursing Services be retained as before. Further, the Department of Clinical Care and Diagnostic Services shall incorporate the functions of Medical Technologies which were placed under the abolished department of Physical Planning and Medical Technologies. Further the following functional areas have been placed under the department. Medical Imaging; Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART); Eye Health Services; Mental Health Services; Oral & Dental Services; Biomedical Engineering; Emergency Health Services; and Pharmaceutical Services.The Statutory bodies under the Ministry will report directly to the Minister of Health.However, the Permanent Secretary – Technical Services shall provide Technical oversight on functionality of statutory bodies. The Provincial Health Directors will report to the Permanent Secretary – Technical Services. The Ministry of Health, Headquarters, shall continue to be responsible for policy making, standard setting, health programming, financial mobilization and monitoring and evaluation.The restructuring was necessitated by the realization that the Ministry of Health headquarters was top heavy and was affecting efficiency due to duplicity of functions and unclear reporting streams in some instances. The structure was also alleged superfluous as it had a number of redundant positons. As a result of this, a policy guidance was given to streamline the roles and functions at the centre in order to make it lean and cost effective.Earlier, Minister of Health Jonas Chanda dissolved boards of Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) and Medical Stores Limited (MSL), which were renamed Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMSA).Dr Chanda also reduced the number of directors at the Ministry of Health from seventeen (17)to seven (7) in an effort to restore donor and public confidence in the health sector.
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