11 December 2018

Zimbabwe: First Lady Calls for Patient Focused Health Delivery

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has encouraged health institutions to improve their service delivery systems and obtain world class facilities to meet the expectations of patients. She said this while officially launching the Ministry of Health and Child Care Client Satisfaction Programme in Harare.

The function was also attended by Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo, Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro, permanent secretary Dr Gerald Gwinji and senior health practitioners, among others.

Officially launching the programme, the First Lady -- who is also health ambassador -- urged health experts not to be discouraged by criticism but to take lessons and improve on their service delivery.

She applauded the ministry for unveiling a noble strategic programme which she said would enable the country's health delivery system become more responsive to the needs of its users.

"Today marks another achievement for us as I continue to work with the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Having partnered with the ministry in cancer screening for our mothers and containing the cholera outbreak, I sincerely believe we will post a major ministry transformation through customer care management systems.

"We want to experience world class standards in our facilities with many achieving international standards ISO certification. This ministry should continue to push for service excellency and I look forward to continuously partner with you in reaching your goal," she said

She expressed concern that she had received numerous complaints at her office on customer service and said she was happy that the ministry had taken a lead in addressing this.

"Today we have entered into a covenant with our customer. Let us go all out to deliver on our commitments. Above all, let us make our services accessible to our customers.

"This programme should reflect a positive image to all stakeholders through the customer-focused philosophy and good customer care. I wish to commend all staff as well as your capable leadership for your hard work to improve the health of our nation.

"Our customers need a listening ear to address their concerns. Furthermore, we all need information for the discussion making whether it's the user or the provider of the service. The customer care programme should ensure that smooth targeted and effective communication systems are established and monitored for effective use.

"Already customers have highlighted areas of concern and l believe that the current system needs to be revamped so that information is managed along defined channels," she said.

She said the client satisfaction programme should be revised from time to time so that it remains effective.

"It is desirous therefore that we launch a ministry-wide customer care programme and it addresses those internal and external needs and expectations. We need a system able to collect customer feedback and various service centre points as well as across facilities making data available and accessible to responsible authorities for action.

"Leveraging on advances in technology our users should be able to use the various communication strategies and gadgets in giving feedback. Now we have Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp. How can we best make use of these?

"Using this data the ministry should transform its services to the public to ensure that they are served better, more quickly, effectively and efficiently," she said.

She expressed concern over the shortages of resources being faced by the ministry in discharging its duties and urged dialogue between service providers and users to ensure optimum utilisation of the service.

"We need a holistic approach where we share information and ensure that we don't leave anyone behind and equitably share the available resources.

"While the service indicate the respective of the user more work should also go towards internal reorganisations and systems optimisation. We must try to reduce medicines stock-outs, reduce work in times at service delivery points, reduce the cost of accessing health care as well as improving the attitude and behaviour of our service providers towards work," she said.

Dr Moyo encouraged the institutions to organise "meet your customer days" to encourage users to effectively participate in the design of service provision that affects them.

"For our customer care promises to become a reality, we need to create avenues to receive feedback from our staff. Our customer care practices should adequately address the needs and preferences of our users as well as service providers.

"Today is our launch, just like a covenant to deliver customer- focused care, but that's just one day. What happens on day 20 through 200? Let us avoid the pitfalls of launching successfully, only to end up with unmaintained website content, orphan apps and unresolved issues that only further annoy customers. Make sure that customer care gets ongoing attention," he said.

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