MoH’s objectives need to be reached, says Brunei King

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, March 5 (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): The Ministry of Health (MoH) launched its strategic plan in September 2019, with a focus on five objectives – excellence in healthcare services, the prevention and control of infectious diseases, public protection through effective policies and regulations, immunity through the use of optimum and innovative resources, and a transparent and proactive administration.

“All of these objectives are impressive, but we have yet to see them being reached. The MoH was provided with a huge budget of almost BND400 million, and is expected to deliver excellent services for citizens and residents.

“The services are being supplied by four government hospitals. Given this, there is no reason why good and quality services cannot be provided.”

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said this during an unscheduled visit to the ministry.

“But these are all determined by the quality of the management and administration – if both are good, then the results will be good.

“Being provided with a huge budget and sufficient equipment is just a standard process in achieving goals. The most essential component is human resources.

“There have been cases where the achievements were outstanding, despite a small budget allocation and modest equipment.

“Within the Ministry of Health, there are various levels of officers and staff from the highest to the lower ranks. All of them are required to carry out their respective duties well and perfectly,” said His Majesty.

Nevertheless, the monarch complimented the MoH for its success in managing the COVID-19 pandemic with the integrated cooperation of various parties.

“This is a remarkable fact which is worthy of our gratitude,” said His Majesty.

His Majesty said, “On the other hand, there are reports of MoH employees violating standard operating procedures (SOPs), such as one health centre instructing the cleaning staff to clean the equipment for storing swab samples such as glass tubes and refrigerators.

“In accordance with the SOPs, the cleaning process should have been performed by a nurse, instead of a cleaner who was not trained to conduct the procedures.

“In a similar manner, there were violations in the delivery of swab samples, by failing to isolate the samples and even putting them in the same vehicle for conveying blood and urine test samples. In keeping with the SOPs, the delivery should have been made with a different vehicle.

“Such incidents indicate the deficiencies of the management and the administration.”

The monarch also said, “Another ongoing issue is that of overdue or delayed coronavirus allowances for some frontliners, such as ambulance drivers and nurses.

“Apart from that, there has been some confusion regarding payment. Several nurses complained that they should have received five payments, but instead collected only three.

“Then there is the issue of medicine shortage and depleted stocks in hospitals and health centres, especially in the three districts beyond Brunei-Muara. Patients are sometimes forced to go to Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital to get their medicine which is burdensome, especially for the elderly. - Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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