It would be an understatement to say the service sector in Ethiopia stinks like old sock. While I was writing this piece, the electric has gone out twice already. In fact, I have to hit the save button every two seconds because chances are that the power will go out again.
There are many indicators that shows that Ethiopia is a poor, developing country. I just mentioned the power problem. Look around and check! There is water problem, administration problems in government offices, stubborn bureaucracies, a health sector that does not give a shit to our problems, and it goes on.
I once saw a photograph posted on facebook that I think really sum up how dreadful the public service sector is. The photograph shows a lady sitting at her desk playing Solitaire - a card game on computers - and in front of her beyond a glass partition are a bunch of people who were probably waiting for her to get a service.
Putting myself in their shoe, I can understand the frustration one can feel waiting until eternity for a service. Maybe, it might be the nature of the job they are doing, I am not sure, but people working in places such as Woreda, or the Sub-city offices are beyond inconsiderate.
It would be one thing if they did their job efficiently, but in majority of the cases, they are just there pretending to be busy, probably playing some sort of computer game like on the picture I was describing earlier.
Unfortunately, this is something that does not seem to be improving in most places. The responses people get for their inquiries from government offices are damn near heart breaking and enough to drive people to instant insanity. This is, of course, if you are not willing to put money on the table.
So why does this happen? I can understand that dealing with people’s complaints and demands is never an easy task. Nevertheless, it is still a job that people chose to do and they get paid for it. They need to do the job they are hired to do, whether they like it or not should not be an issue for anyone except managers. This problem is not exclusive to the public services sector, private service sector, especially. In health care, is no different. It is embarrassing really, how some health care providers are allowed to operate at all. It seems like we are encouraging bad service most of the time, we just keep quiet and we just take the injustice.
These kinds of problems are usually seen in developing countries, I am not sure why. Maybe, people have bigger things on their plate to be bothered by the needs of other people. Maybe, people just like to be ignorant and are lazy at the same time.
There needs to be a body that monitors different service-providing institutions to make sure that jobs are being done well and effectively. When this happens, it will not only help the person that is receiving the service but the provider as well. When things are done effectively, they usually leave behind extra time that can be spent on different things.
That is how new ideas are born, when we use the existing methods effectively and exhaustively that we start looking for a better solution for different challenges. If we keep settling for less than bad services and if we continuously encourage bad performance, the harder it will become to introduce change in the long run. And everything is based on change; transformation, development, growth and civilization, all require change.