PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has empowered the deputy district health officers (DDHOs) to manage the day-to-day affairs of the Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities across the province. A formal notification to this effect has been issued from the office of the provincial secretary for health with specific terms of references (ToRs) for the DDHOs. The step has been taken to ensure efficient, effective and round the clock service delivery at the grass-roots level after the disengagement of the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) from the management of the Basic Health Units (BHUs) in 17 districts of the province. It merits a mention here that the management of the BHUs in 17 districts was contracted out to the SRSP a few years ago and the contract is going to expire by the end of this month. As per the ToRs mentioned in the notification, the DDHOs will regularly visit the PHC facilities in their districts at least once every two months; take prompt action on missing PHC facilities related to availability of stocks, human resources, equipment and infrastructure within their powers; monitor the ADP schemes of PHC facilities; submit reports to district health officers on missing building and equipment facilities and prepare annual budget for PHC facilities in the district. The notification reads that the DDHO will work within the overall framework of the District Health System and under the supervision of and control of the district health officer. The DDHO will be assisted by the coordinator of the PHC to frame monthly medicines distribution plans, monitor the developmental projects and develop proposals for repair and maintenance of PHC facilities. It also says that the Independent Monitoring Unit of the Health Department will develop a proper monitoring checklist for DDHOs to have a systematic assessment and develop a proposal for monitoring applications on their smart phones. The notification provides that in case of unavailability of DDHO, the above function will be assigned to a coordinator or the PHC or any other officer as deemed appropriate. It may well be recalled here that the provincial government has already delegated enough financial powers to district health managers to enable them to address the issues hampering effective and smooth service delivery at the grass-roots level.