Deputy PM calls for health ministry to focus on personnel development
Deputy Prime Minister Somdy Duangdy has called on the Ministry of Health to focus on staff development as the top priority for the health sector, stressing the need for a change in attitudes.
Mr Somdy made the call in his address at the ministry's annual meeting for 2016, which ended yesterday.
In terms of achievements in 2015-16, the ministry has improved the working style, service delivery, knowledge and capability of doctors and nurses. It has also improved facilities at health centres and distributed medicines and modern medical equipment to various hospitals.
Mr Somdy praised the improvements in the sector and the decision to pursue continuous reform.
However, he reminded ministry officials that the quality of health services in Laos remains a huge challenge in competing with the services offered in neighbouring countries. There is a continuous stream of Lao people crossing the border for health services, mostly going to Thailand, he noted.
“We should improve the quality of our services until it satisfies the people who use them,” the Deputy PM said.
He cited ethics and compassion on the part of doctors, nurses and all health workers as being the key issue the ministry had to address. He explained that treatment not only meant giving medicine to patients, but also caring for them sympathetically.
“The human factor is very important so I would like you to have some soul-searching discussions about this,” Mr Somdy said.
He suggested that Lao doctors' professional skills and expertise might be the same or even better than those found in many countries but that management methods and service delivery were inadequate.
He called on health administrators at all levels to take this into account when planning for the future.
The deputy prime minister also wanted the ministry to tackle authoritarianism within its ranks, which he said could be a factor in inconsiderate behaviour.
He cited the late payment of salaries as an example of this, which he had discussed with ministry officials.
Referring to a recent report from the Ministry of Finance, Mr Somdy said the Ministry of Health, along with the Ministry of Education and Sports, was consistently late in paying its officials. He stressed that salaries should be paid monthly, not quarterly , and called on administrators at all levels to look into the matter.
He also called for inspections within the health sector to focus on financial management and the provision of professional services.
By Somxay Sengdara
(Latest Update March 01, 2017)