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False and inaccurate! Health Ministry defends PS Dr. Atwine over staff recruitment

Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The Ministry of Health (MoH) has dismissed a report by Sunday Monitor that implied that the Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine influenced the recent recruitment of new staff.

The ministry, in a statement released by Senior Public Relations Officer Emmanuel Ainebyoona disputed the Sunday Monitor facts that indicated that prior to getting the new structure, the top ministry officials handpicked a Director Curative/Clinical Services, four commissioners; the Commissioner for Ambulance, the Commissioner for Quality Assurance and one for Clinical services.

MoH says that the Permanent Secretary, Dr Diana Atwine never handpicked any staff to fill any of the key positions as alleged.

“All staff currently occupying key positions at the Ministry of Health were recruited by the Health Service Commission, through well laid down processes and procedures as enshrined in the Public Service recruitment rules. The vacant positions were advertised, applicants shortlisted and successful candidates who sat interviews were forwarded by the Health Service Commission for appointment,” says the ministry.

The statement also revealed that Dr. Charles Olaro, a Senior Consultant Surgeon, was appointed upon emerging successful for the position of Director Curative/Clinical Services, adding that Dr. Joseph Okware, a former District Health Officer for Luwero District attended and successfully passed interviews by the Health Service Commission before being appointed the Commissioner Quality Assurance and Inspection Department (QAID).

The ministry adds that the current Commissioner in charge of Clinical Services, Dr Jackson Amone, and formerly assistant Commissioner Clinical Services also successfully sat and passed interviews for the position.

“He replaced Dr Jacinto Amandua who had officially retired from Service” says MoH adding that “Dr John Baptist Waniaye Nambohe, formerly in Mbale district was appointed Commissioner Emergency Medical Services in the Ministry of Health upon successfully completing a recruitment process by the Commission.”

It says “the so-called “handpicked 11 officials” were merely officers who have been serving at the Ministry of Health and have worked exceptionally well.”

In the statement, the ministry says that Dr Atwine felt that if they are assessed and found suitable, they would be given an opportunity to serve in the positions where they had been in acting capacity. “The matter was discussed and endorsed by entire senior Top Management thus not a decision by the Permanent secretary alone.”

In an addition, the Ministry of Health says it has contract staff who are regularly recruited upon clearance by Ministry of Public Service to bridge gaps in areas that have limited capacity within the structure. Some other contract staff are supported by development partners as part of the strategy to strengthen the Health care system.

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