Transforming Healthcare Quality Service

It is a worldwide acknowledged fact that Ethiopia's HSTP is both deep and broad, embracing leadership, data for decision making, empowerment, accountability, equity, quality, respect, and compassion.

In this context, the national Health Sector Development Programme (HSDP) document is developed to transform Healthcare Quality. As stated in the document, the ultimate aim of the National Strategy is to consistently ensure and improve the outcomes of clinical care, patient safety and patient-centeredness while increasing access and equity for all segments of society. This is believed to offer improved safe, more effective, more accessible and more equitable care for all fellow citizens, all the time. All patients - regardless of age, geography, or income - have equal access to reliable, excellent clinical care, which protects them from harm and treats them with dignity and respect.

Yes, since the HSDP is introduced in 1990s, there have been significant achievements in improving health outcomes for the Ethiopian population, such as the reduction of child deaths by more than two-thirds over the past twenty years to meet Millennium Development Goal Four. However, more work remains to be done. The National Healthcare Quality Strategy will focus on improving quality across the spectrum of the healthcare system from prevention to palliative care, with special emphasis on the following five priority public health areas: Maternal, Neonatal and child health, specifically reducing maternal and neonatal mortality; Malnutrition, especially the prevention and management of severe acute malnutrition; Communicable diseases, particularly malaria, HIV, and TB; Non-communicable diseases prevention and management, particularly diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, mental health, and chronic respiratory diseases; Clinical and surgical services, particularly regarding timeliness of care.

Of late, the third Annual National Healthcare Quality Summit underscored that the expanding of integrated health facilities is crucial for rendering quality healthcare services across the country.

Opening the summit recently, Health State Minister Dr. Kebede Worku said that national five-year Health Sector Transformation Plan (HSTP) has improved the overall service delivery quality in the country.

According to Dr. Kebede, the prime agenda of HSTP is to improve quality and equity of health service in all healthcare facilities.

Health Service Quality Director Directorate Dr. Ayele Teshome for his part noted that nation has registered significant achievements and progress in terms of delivering quality health services.

According to Dr. Ayele, the World Health Assembly launched Saving Lives through Safe Surgery (SaLTS) initiative in 2015, the initiative aims to make emergency surgical and anaesthesia care accessible and affordable to all. Hence, Ethiopia is exerting efforts to realize the initiative, he added.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement President and CEO Derek Feeley noted that "Ethiopia is doing well in health sector." Equipping health facilities with the desire human and financial resources is a part and parcel of addressing the emerging challenges of quality service, he said. In order to transform national healthcare strategy, efforts should be exerted to the extent of ascribed services executed at well organized approaches.

Points that are selected in order to significantly improve the outcomes of these particular health areas, the National Healthcare Quality Strategy prioritizes the four key strategic focus areas: Develop an integrated approach to planning, improving, and controlling quality. Activate key constituencies to advance quality. Driving improvement in quality by explicitly linking UHC strategy with quality. Support strong data systems and feedback loops as "backbone" of all improvement actions should be redeemed as per the States performance.

The HSTP has put particular emphasis on transforming health services at the district (woreda) level, starting with the selection of directors of primary healthcare units who can establish "a culture of quality management, focus, and data-driven achievement." These units should be subject to performance contracts and citizen scorecards, and community members should be invited to join their governing boards. Mechanisms for turning around under performing health centres should be put in place.

Finally, the move to transforming Healthcare Quality service is bearing fruits but it should be supported by well-organized decision-makers as well activities of strengthening health facilities.

source- Ethiopian Herald Newspaper