Health ministry speaks on PS Dr Atwine handpicking officials

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Dr Diana Atwine

The Ministry of Health has clarified on staff recruitment following reports 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.

Health ministry spokesperson, Emmanuel Ainebyona, said the Permanent Secretary, Dr Diana Atwine never handpicked any staff to fill any of the above key positions. 

He said 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 ones who sat interviews were forwarded by the Health Service Commission for appointment.

For example, Dr. Charles Olaro, a Senior Consultant Surgeon, was appointed upon emerging successful for the position of Director Curative/Clinical Services.  Similarly, 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 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.

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 is suffice to note that the recruitment process was already in its final stages when Dr Diana Atwine was appointed as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health towards the end of the year 2016, Ainebyona explained. 

“The Ministry of Health would like to reiterate that the accounting officer, Dr Diana Atwine, did not handpick the 11 officials for appointment by the Health Service Commission as alleged by the author.”

“The Ministry would also like to state that so called handpicked 11 officials were merely officers who have been serving at the Ministry of Health and have worked exceptionally well and not handpicked as alleged.”

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.

“Kindly note that the Permanent Secretary does not work alone but with the entire management.”

In an addition, the Ministry of Health 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.

In the same vein, the Health Service Commission is still undertaking a validation exercise for all Ministry of Health staff as part of the process to implement a new staff structure.

The Ministry of Health follows all the requisite Human resource guidelines in the recruitment process of cadres at all levels as stipulated within the approved structure.

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