The System Enhancement for Health Action in Transition(SEHAT) is a World Bank supported project follows the Strengthening Health Activities for the Rural poor (SHARP, 2009-2013), increasing the focus on systems development of the regular structures in MOPH at central and provincial levels in order to make them more responsive to the present and emerging needs of the sector.
SEHAT is a 5-year program funded through International Development Association (IDA) and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund(ARTF) of the World Bank Group. The project includes support for Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) and Essential Package Hospital Services (EPHS) in provinces supported by the Bank as well as the 10 provinces previously financed by the European Union (EU). Given the excellent opportunity provided by the ARTF for the donor coordination, other development partners will be kept informed as they may join the partnership.
The project development objective is to expand the scope and coverage of health services provided to the population, particularly for the poor, and will enhance the stewardship functions of the Ministry of Public Health.
1. Complaints Handling at the Ministry of Public HealthUnder the SEHAT project, it is envisaged that MoPH’s existing Health Complaint Office (HCO) at the central and provincial levels covering a range of complaints categories would be strengthened and that support will be given to the MoPH to develop and implement a proactive information disclosure policy.
Currently, the MoPH receives complaints and/or requests mostly from politicians and public health officials; however, it is not properly established. Fewer numbers of grievances are received from ordinary citizens and beneficiaries of public health services. The MoPH has a complaint handling system in place, but its scope and reach are limited. It consists mainly of complaints boxes at the Ministry and provincial hospitals that are rarely used by citizens (partly due to the high illiteracy rates of the population) and seldom checked by ministry officials.
The MoPH tries to respond immediately to the grievances it receives. There is no system for responding, documenting, or analyzing the complaints. Often, the complaints are forwarded to the Grants and Contracts Management Unit (GCMU) which is then tasked to address the complaints taking up much of its time. Currently MoPH is unable to provide statistics on who complains, what are the grievances, which provinces/districts the complaints are coming from, what are the responses, etc.
To address the grievances of ordinary citizens, MoPH is devoted to set up a Health Complaint Office (HCO) which is appropriately staffed and has different uptake channels. The HCO will be staffed by at least the Head of Unit, the HC Analysis Officer, and the HC Technology Officer in Kabul. In addition, the Provincial Public Health Directors would be requested to nominate dedicated staff to act as the HCO Provincial Focal Points. As a first step toward establishing an effective HCO, MoPH will recruit the Head of Unit for HCO.
2. Objectives of the Assignment
The primary objective of this assignment is to improve the social accountability of the Ministry of Public Health through strengthening complaint handling system within MoPH to handle and respond to complaints and grievances from the healthcare users and ordinary citizens in efficient and effective manner. The Head of HCO will be hired to work with MoPH to establish an effective health complaint handling system at the ministry, provincial and healthcare facility level.
The Head of HCO will be reporting to the Deputy Minister of Policy and Planning/SEHAT Coordinator at the MoPH. He/ She will be expected to generate monthly, quarterly and annual progress reports of complaints to the MoPH management and leadership.