Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Health sector corruption attracts attention of senior officials

Deputy Permanent Secretary (Corporate services) in the Ministry of Health Ontlametse Mokopakgosi has sent a very strong warning to Corruption Prevention Committees (CPC’s) within District Health Management Teams (DHMT’s) to guard against high levels of corruption which have for a long time now gone uncontrolled in the entire health sector.

She said first and foremost, DHMT’s should acknowledge the presence of corruption practices within the health sector as well as to combine efforts which will enable them to look at better strategies to fight it, failure at which the sector as a whole stands to be doomed. She said CPC’S should be encouraged at all departments, even those outside the Mo H, as they are also a guide that allows organizations to facilitate and perform anti corruption initiatives at their various work places by themselves.

Mokopakgosi was speaking at a two day workshop in Maun midweek, where DHMT’s from Ghanzi, Maun and Charleshill had converged to discuss corruption issues related to their line of work. She said Botswana falls within 60% of the most corrupt countries in Sub Saharan Africa, which is why there is need to establish a watch dog within the country as a whole, because if that is delayed then Botswana might be no more in years to come. “Corruption in Botswana is not in paper, but real. That is why we need to stand up and protect the little that we have. Your calling in the health sector is not an easy one, and so it is up to you to make it reputable. It should be practiced and applied. You also need to know that it calls for the restoration of life, and so life restoration and corruption can never be a good combination. You need to cultivate back the trust that Batswana used to have in the sector and ask yourselves if you have what it takes to do so, and work towards transforming it into a corrupt free sector.

You also need to deal with bad behavior in our mist even though it might be complicated by the fact that some of these corrupt people are our friends or family, but if we don’t bring them forward, then we might me pointless in our mission”. Chief Health Officer in the Ministry, Galeagelwe Baikepi said the committees were formed with the intention to monitor all organizational procedures and operations so as to guard against corruption and other deviant conduct while also assisting the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in the implementation of its interventions. As a committee, she said they are not duty bound to investigate or take people to task, but rather to ensure that they prevent corruption before it deepens. “The most important thing is to ensure the restoration and sustainability of transparency at all levels in the public service if at all we want to achieve zero tolerance to corruption.

Supplies department is one area which is prone to corruption, and so I want to appeal to officers working under this department to absorb transparency and accountability from time to time. Corruption reporting should also be encouraged, but this can only be achieved if we have corruption reporting mechanisms in place as well as to ensure that they are viable. Even though we are trying, we are also very much challenged as there is a lot of reluctance and lack of support from our managers, even though we want to work closely with them so that they may strengthen supervision. We also wish to encourage departments to allocate budget for CDC proposed projects because should they relax, then we might see them collapsing and not helping the current situation whereby corruption is spiraling”, she said.

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