Local oversight helps officials receive instant updates to improve service delivery

A female health worker provides services for patients during covid19 at Qala-e-Bahadur Khan Basic Health Center in Kabul City

 

Qala-e-Bahadur Khan Basic Health Center offers basic health services to the surrounding people from a rental facility in District 6 of Kabul City. On April 21, 2020, this health center was placed under Integrity Watch Afghanistan’s Community Based Monitoring Program. Local people in the area shared their concerns. Ms. Sabera Asadi, a member of the Qala-e-Bahadur Khan Community Council, said, “In the current situation in our country, where the deadly Coronavirus is rapidly on the rise, the facility faces serious staff shortages and a lack of protective equipment to be used by the health workers.” He further added, “The health workers of the center are never on time.

On the morning of May 19, 2020, at 9:30 when the health center was visited by the local volunteers, it was found that the center was totally closed and visitors were sent back home by a 10-year old young boy, introducing himself as son of a security guard working for the center. They were told that the doctors had not yet come to the health center and that there were no one inside the health center. The Integrity Watch volunteer shared the issue via a phone call with the Head of Kabul Province’s Public Health Department, telling him about the lack of health personnel/doctors and protective equipment as well.

The Head of Public Health Department, said, “Give me five minutes, wait where you are and I will shortly call you back.” In few minutes, he rang the Integrity Watch volunteer, and said, “I spoke to the person in charge of the Health Center on the phone, he is on his way to the center.” He continued, “Please inform the clients and patients to wait as the doctors and health personnel will arrive shortly, and thank you for cooperating with us and informing us promptly about the issue.” A few minutes later, three health personnel arrived at the clinic and started working. This response and the pursuit of Kabul Province’s Public Health Department was unparalleled.

As a result of such public oversight, we can hold public services’ officials accountable at various levels and can help officials and decision-makers play a key role in improving public services. Following this, the local people have increased cooperating with this center, and Nehad-e Jawanan-e Haqparast, a local social organization provided the center’s staff with five kits of safety equipment so that they are equipped with proper protective equipment and stay safe from the Coronavirus.