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Monday, March 1, 2021

Health minister on suggestions to reduce ‘bloated’ director positions

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By Alagie Manneh

Health minister Dr Lamin Samateh has defended the offices of the many directors in his ministry, saying there was no need to restructure the ministry by reducing the number of directorates and directors.

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The country reportedly has more than 16 directorates at the Ministry of Health, prompting some experts including top doctors to suggest that the system is bloated with directors calling for a restructuring to do away with many ‘unnecessary’ directors “scattered in ministry.”

But minister Samateh said removing them is a non-starter because there is no duplicity in the works of the directors.

“I think the important thing is not the name directorate; it is the function they are supposed to perform. If they perform those functions well, then there is no harm. If you call a directorate a unit, what difference does it make? What I am trying to say is that each of those directorates has a function and it is actually what I insist on that everybody carry out their functions to the best of their ability going by the terms of reference. When we get that, then we will have a good system. It is not the number or the nomenclatures; it is everybody doing what you are supposed to do. Period,” Dr Samateh told The Standard last week.

He said it makes no sense to merge directorates when there will be a unit to do its functions.

“So, if you separate them, you empower them. I think the bottom line is them doing what they are supposed to do,” he added.

When told that this is not the practice in the healthcare systems of most countries far bigger than The Gambia, he responded: “You are from The Standard. Do you practice the same way as all the other newspapers? You don’t. You have your own way of doing things. Sometimes people don’t like it but that’s how you do it. In my opinion, we [should] maintain it [the directors] and improve them….”

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