Launched in November 2013 as part of the Vision 2030 flagship projects, Huduma Kenya program has commendably eased access to government services.
Are Huduma Centres really efficient? [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]
Are the queues an indication of service delivery or inefficiencies?
According to President Uhuru Kenyatta, during the 7th African Public Service Day at the KICC, the 55 Huduma Centers across the country have served over 24 million Kenyans, saving the country over Sh74 billion.
During this Covid-19 season, Nairobi Huduma Centers were temporarily closed for fumigation, taking into account rising cases of Covid-19 and a high number of human traffic the centers experienced. Meanwhile, customers could access Huduma Kenya assistance through their contact center line and social media channels.
As the services resumed, safety measures were being observed, including ensuring that all staff were wearing masks, providing sanitizers and hand washing stations were installed for customers. Strict measures on social distancing have been implemented inside the Huduma Centre halls.
The Ministry of Public Service and Gender re-opened the GPO station with a new introduction; an appointment system. The other four centers in Nairobi and the rest countrywide did not need an appointment beforehand.
This system meant that Kenyans in the city had to book an appointment before seeking the services (register online on the Huduma Centre appointment page, then log in and choose the time and service you'd like to access, then book).
Upon arrival at the center, one is required to show their booking details or ticket number and proceed for the service.
This kind of arrangement was first seen at the immigrations ministry, when a booking system was introduced to Kenyans seeking to apply for passports. This system minimized human traffic and time spent at the offices.
This technology was working so well as because it saved time, improved efficiency and more so helped reduce human traffic thereby reducing Covid-19 infection risk.
Note that the seats inside the center are arranged in a distanced manner as the Covid regulations recommend, in case of small crowds.
The change that brought long queues
The problem began recently when one was required to queue upon arrival at the center, show your appointment details then proceed.
The queuing aspect developed when a ‘card’ system was introduced. Why are we going back to queuing?
I have been there a couple of times in the last three weeks, and the queuing is real! At times the line is too long, yet the one meter rule is not being observed.
Then there is this card you are handed once your details are verified, before you are allowed into the center. Note that these cards are exchanged from person to person, without provision for the card to be sterilized before being handed from one person to the next.
Together with other concerned citizens, our plea to the Ministry of Public Service and Gender - CS Margaret Kobia - would be to eliminate the queuing and the card system as the online booking method had managed human traffic quite well. The back and forth should be avoided, as it is not safe.
The foregoing is an Opinion Article submitted to Pulse Live Kenya for publication as part of the Pulse Contributors initiative.
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
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Anne (pictured) is an experienced Communications and Development expert with demonstrated history of working in the civil and social organization industry. She is currently the communications officer of KeNRA, a member of KOGwg, member of the Decoalonize Campaign, a global advocate alumni and an associate fellow of the Global Shapers Community, Nairobi Hub.
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