OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER

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PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
Query: Permanent Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister and Public Service Commission chairperson, the two recently advertised positions in the division Employee Wellness should be cancelled, as there is no need for such a post in the division, more specifically at the level of chief. That is a waste of taxpayers’ money and it will just bloat the public service. The job can be done by current staff.

Response: The division Employee Wellness, HIV and Aids has four sections and the primary responsibility of the division is to develop policies, staff rules and guidelines and to review legislation related to the public service. It also ensures the orientation and training of staff members in the various offices, ministries and agencies (OMAs) and regional councils (RCs) on public service employee wellness, HIV and Aids workplace programmes, mainstreaming, research, monitoring and evaluation, as well as ensuring policy implementation and compliance.

The sections are:
Employee Wellness, HIV and Aids workplace programmes, implementation of the Public Service HIV and Aids Policy and the coordination of the Public Sector HIV and Aids Response, as per the National Strategic Framework (NSF) on HIV and Aids in Namibia. Development and implementation of the Wellness Policy, serve as Secretariat for the Public Service Employee Medical Aids Scheme (PSEMAS). – Position is vacant.

HIV and Aids mainstreaming into major and capital projects and Annual Sectoral Plans of all OMAs and Regional Councils, as per the NSF and NDP 4. – Position is filled.

HIV and Aids Governance and Leadership Sectoral Coordination Secretariat – The section’s primary responsibility is to coordinate all 27 OMAs, private sector, UN agencies, NGOs and development partners, which constitute the sector. Ensure the implementation of the Sectoral HIV and AIDS Implementation Plan, compile reports and hold quarterly meetings, as well as coordination of the Global Fund on HIV, Tuberculosis and the Malaria Country Coordinating Mechanism. – Position is vacant.

Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit – The objective of the section is to provide for the production and use of strategic information that 1) supports accountability, and 2) strengthens the public service response to HIV and Aids, employee wellness and PSEMAS performance at policy and programmatic levels. To develop various tools and instruments for research, monitoring and evaluation of wellness and multi-sectorial HIV response in OMAs and RCs, including how monitoring and evaluation should be applied to meet accountability obligations, produce and disseminate strategic information for improved public service delivery. – Position is filled.

Due to the complex and diverse areas of responsibility of the respective sections the work cannot be done by two people only. The major challenge we currently experience with most of our programmes is the absence of policies and full-time staff at the level of the OMAs and RCs. Most, if not all, staff members assigned to help out with employee wellness, HIV and Aids workplace programmes are doing this on voluntary basis or additionally to their job descriptions.

We are in the process to develop, harmonise and finalise the relevant policies, staff rules and guidelines and also to establish a job category and structure for the positions of employee wellness officers in the OMAs and RCs. Once the structure/posts in the ministries and RCs are created and filled and the policies are in place, the division will be fully functional and we may have to assign assistance to the chief(s), but workload assessment will be conducted before that decision is taken.

We do appreciate the concern of the citizen, as the employer the Office of the Prime Minister is equally concerned with effective and quality service delivery and we can only achieve that with a healthy and well-motivated staff component. We do have over 120 000 employees to take care of.
Rhingo Mutambo, communication practitioner, Public Service Commission in the Office of the Prime Minister, E-mail Address: rhingo.mutambo@opm.gov.na

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