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Government announces specific programme for health sector

Published the:  28/03/2019

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(TAP) - Government spokesman Iyed Dahmani announced on Thursday the adoption of a specific programme for the public health sector, based on the recommendations of the participatory dialogue on challenges and urgent measures to upgrade the sector.


Announced at the end of a cabinet meeting chaired on Thursday morning by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, this programme focuses on six areas: financing the sector, medical equipment and maintenance, medicines and medical devices, governance and digitisation of the sector and the fight against corruption, strengthening human resources and hospital health.


Financial sustainability of the sector


It was decided to allocate an additional amount of nearly 100 million dinars to the public health support fund. The purpose of this fund is to cover the costs of hospital services for holders of the free care booklet and beneficiaries of reduced-rate cards.


It will also be discussed to settle part of the debts of public institutions towards the central pharmacy (200 million dinars) and to submit, next April 10, the draft law on the reform of social security funds to the House of People's Representatives (HPR).


Medical equipment and maintenance


Iyed Dahmani indicated that 107 million dinars will be mobilised for the acquisition of medical equipment scheduled for 2016, 2017 and 2018 (22 million dinars) and the publication of tenders for the purchase of medical equipment (85 million dinars) in addition to the mobilizing of annual resources for the maintenance of heavy equipment and the pooling of resources between hospitals.


Drugs and medical devices


Dahmani announced the start, in April 2019, of work on the "Al-Dawa 2" City project in El Agba in the governorate of Manouba, explaining that this project will enable the Central Pharmacy to increase its drug storage capacity, and its ability to increase drug reserves and supply the health sector.


Besides, Habib Thameur's experience in automatic and secure drug distribution will be generalised, as it has made it possible to control drug costs, reaching 30% of the total budget allocated.


He also indicated that the file of the Société des Industries Pharmaceutiques de Tunisie (SIPHAT) will be submitted to the Commission for the reorganisation and restructuring of companies with public participation (French:CAREPP).


Governance, digitisation and fight against corruption


Dahmani said that 80 million dinars will be allocated to modernise the hospital data system, in addition to the imminent launch of the remote medicine project at the hospitals of Rabta, Habib Thameur, Jendouba, Tozeur and the Trauma and Burns Centre in Ben Arous.


He also announced the adoption of the remote appointment management system, starting in April 2019, in 12 health facilities, and then extended it to all health facilities from July 2019.


The IT infrastructure would be set up in 600 basic health centres in 2019 to generalise the experience on other health structures during the years 2020 and 2012, with a budget of 15 million dinars.


On the other hand, he reported that the government has just approved the draft law on patient protection and medical liability.


He said that a national school of public health will be created with the aim of raising the skills of health professionals and whose regulations will be drawn up before the end of 2019, in addition to the introduction, in the afternoons, of a system of external consultations in hospitals and dispensaries.


Strengthening human resources


The spokesman announced the opening of 2,000 new positions for 2019. The objective is to fill vacant positions, particularly in services classified as "priority".


Besides, a study to set standards for human resources and hospitals and health structures will soon be conducted. Another study on the electronic invoicing system will be carried out.


Hospital hygiene


Dahmani said that an amount of 35.5 million dinars will be allocated to three projects. The first concerns the installation of an air treatment unit in the operating theatres of the Habib Bourguiba University Hospital in Sfax, the Charles Nicolle University Hospital and the Mohamed Taher Maamouri Regional Hospital in Nabeul.


The second project concerns the rehabilitation of 10 clean rooms in the neonatology departments of several institutions (the maternity and neonatology centre, Charles Nicolle University Hospital, Aziza Othmana University Hospital), Mongi Slim Hospital in La Marsa, Habib Boukatfa Regional Hospital in Bizerte, Mohamed Tlatli Regional Hospital in Nabeul, Hédi Chaker University Hospital in Sfax, Fatouma Bourguiba University Hospital in Monastir, Farhat Hached University Hospital in Souse and Taher Sfar University Hospital in Mahdia.


The third project will provide 10 public hospitals with sterilization equipment. 


In addition, the government spokesman said that the project to treat hazardous hospital waste will be extended to the remaining 12 governorates, at a cost of 10 million dinars.


Last Friday, a participatory dialogue on the challenges and urgent measures in favour of the public health sector was organised by the Prime Minister following the death of 15 infants at La Rabat maternity and neonatal centre. This meeting, which brought together more than 400 professionals from the sector, resulted in a series of recommendations for reform of the sector that were used to develop this programme