By Jordan Simeon-Phiri
Vice Chairperson for Karonga District Council, Councillor Ngasalayumo Mwangonde says the signing of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Proactive Disclosure of Information in the Health Sector is a step in the direction to uphold transparency and accountability in the health sector in district.
Councillor Mwangonde made the remarks on last week Monday at Club Marina during the official signing ceremony of SOPs aimed at empowering the community members to access vital information from duty bearers relating to health service delivery.
“This is good development to both duty bearers and rights holders as there will be sense of responsibility whereby community members will play watchdog roles at the same time duty bearers will be accountable,” Mwangonde said.
Taking his turn, Director of Health and Social Services (DHSS) for Karonga Dr. Phineas Mfune said the signing of the booklet is an opportunity to the people of Karonga to access quality health services and give feedback for improvement.
“It is a commitment for us duty bearers to provide information so that community members are able to follow how resources are being used to avoid conflicts that come when there is withholding of information,” Mfune said.
On his part, Project Officer at Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese Obert Mkandawire, whose organization facilitated the formulation of SOPs, hailed the outgoing District Commissioner Emmanuel Bulukutu for giving consent to the document two years after its adoption, saying it will enhance citizen participation through accessing of information in the health sector.
“Access to information, such as local health sector budgets, health service improvement plans, status of service delivery at health facility such as drug stock levels, council resolutions and district health management team (DHMT) decisions, health service improvement plans, status of service delivery at health facility and district levels such as drug stock levels, is vital.
When citizens access such information, they are able to participate in health decision making at local level. This enhances transparency and accountability and consequently health service delivery is improved,” Mkandawire said.
Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is financing the Promotion of High Quality Transparent Accountable and Responsive Health Service Delivery project in six traditional authorities (TAs) in Karonga and Chitipa districts.