Hawari and his team

Fahad Al-Khitan (Photo: JNews)
The Salt Hospital incident has swept the public health sector’s leadership.

Feras Al-Hawari succeeded Nathir Obeidat as Minister of Health, and the change of leadership also reached the two secretaries general of the ministry, one of whom was detained in relation to the Salt Hospital case, and the other, Wael Hayajneh, who was leading the pandemic file, resigned for personal reasons related to a job offer abroad.اضافة اعلان

Minister Hawari, a doctor attested for in terms of competence and experience, is of the same mold as Obeidat. The former minister played a key role in managing the COVID-19 crisis and gained the public’s trust by implementing state-level COVID-19 measures and, earlier, in his role a media spokesperson for the pandemic committee.

The new Health Ministry team wasn’t far from the coronavirus pandemic. From early on, Hawari had a presence in the scene and effectively contributed to raising public awareness on the danger of the pandemic. From his post and experience at one of the best Jordanian medical centers, the King Hussein Cancer Center, he provided major contributions to the country’s crisis management plans.

Later, Hawari officially took over the leadership of the National Center for Epidemic and Communicable Disease Control, which was, at the time, in the establishment stage.

Like many others, I wished at the time that Hawari would continue his work in the establishment of the center, in light of its great importance. However, the crisis caught up with the government after the Salt incident, blowing away plans and pushing Hawari into the ministerial post, leaving the post at the epidemic center vacant.

Personally, I believe that former minister Azmi Mahafzah is the best fitted to oversee the process of establishing and managing the center in the coming period, in light of his experience and ability to carry the responsibility.

The tasks ahead of Hawari and his team for the foreseeable future are clear: managing the coronavirus crisis and getting out of it as soon as possible. In this regard, the challenge appears to be big and difficult.

Jordan is facing the most difficult stages of the pandemic outbreak, and still has quite a few weeks to go before it flattens the curve and reaches zero cases and deaths.

To a large extent, the matter depends on the public’s adherence to closure and curfew measures and compliance with defense orders, as well as the expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout campaign, in order to achieve an advanced level of herd immunity.

Hawari has never been part of the governmental bureaucratic machine, but he has on his side two experienced Health Ministry secretaries general: former Bashir Hospital director Mahmoud Zreiqat and former leading official at the ministry, as well as former advisor for the World Health Organization, Adel Balbeisi.

Sound management and experience are the most critical components for overcoming this crisis. The current ministerial team is no less experienced than its predecessor, but it must learn from the mistakes of the previous phase, and pay more attention to leadership on the field to ensure their plans are successfully implemented.

The Salt Hospital incident was due to a problem on the field, hence, the new minister must devise an oversight system that ensures the continuation of daily work at hospitals, and he must not be lenient with any breach of protocol.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not the first nor last challenge to face the Kingdom’s health sector. There are many pending issues that will require long-term planning, including developing the health sector’s performance and service, combating administrative inefficiency, covering shortages of medical staff, enhancing the capacities of the working medical staff, putting an end to resource waste, and other problems that have drained the sector and left it in a terrible state.

The administrative revolution, adopted by the government as a slogan, can begin with the health sector, both public and private.