Evaluating the effectiveness of strategic planning in the Department of Health, North West Province
Kubeka, Ontlametse Selina
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Strategic planning is intended to help governments, communities and organisations deal with and adapt to their changing internal and external circumstances. It can help clarify and resolve the most important pressing issues. For example, in the Department of Health each Province is expected to report annually on progress made towards achieving the global targets determined by the World Health Organisation on the Quadruple Burden of Disease. It is the responsibility of the national Department of Health to ensure that there is appropriate guidance on how planning should be conducted in order to report annual progress on addressing the mandate hence the evaluation of the effectiveness of the planning. The National Treasury has developed a planning framework that guides the development and standardisation of health plans across the country. The framework includes the starting period and continues to the finalisation of the plans. But it does not mention the consultation processes involved between internal and external stakeholders during the planning period. This study was carried out to assess the effectiveness of strategic planning processes in the Department of Health. Qualitative research methodology was used, with questions distributed to twelve officials who are participating in the development of strategic planning of the Department of Health. Findings of the research indicate that due to the complexity in aligning the national and provincial documents, the provincial office needs to establish a Planning Committee. In relation to the current consultation processes during the development of plans, planning must start at the Districts. The Department of Health must employ an epidemiologist who will analyse the previous performance reports on the pattern, causes and effects of health diseases before planning for the next financial year to make informed decisions and set targets. The findings regarding the development of National Indicator Data Sets (NIDS) indicate that there is currently no consensus and proper coordination from the National office on ‘’ decision making’’ around the factors contributing to the finalisation of the indicators. In relation to the officials’ commitment in the implementation of Departmental plans, poor management of performance in the Department of Health contributes to poor employee morale and non-commitment to the achievement of planning targets.