Ms Bonifacia Benefo Agyei, the Director of SafeCare, an international non-governmental organisation providing innovative healthcare, says Ghana and other African countries can tap into the company’s quality standards and systems improvement for quality assurance in healthcare delivery.
She noted that expanding healthcare coverage alone would not reduce the disease burden among the population unless there were significant improvements in access to quality delivery.
“Access to quality healthcare services is obviously a challenge, therefore, the Government and other relevant stakeholders must relentlessly work to address it,” she said.
Ms Benefo Agyei said low quality care facilities seriously compromised the efforts being put in to ensure access to healthcare services.
“For example, if the patient or the community’s trust in the healthcare quality is low, it leads to low patronage,” she said.
“The attainment of Ghana’s Universal Health Coverage will not be realised unless we turn our attention to ensuring implementation of quality care improvement programmes.”
She said in doing so, objective measurement was key, which SafeCare offered the standards and methodology for.
Ms Benefo Agyei was, however, pleased that since the introduction of the SafeCare programme, quality improvement had gradually been receiving attention among providers and health administrators in the country.
In an interaction with the media in Accra, Ms Berefo Agyei said the company’s quality standards were developed through a joint initiative of PharmAccess Foundation and two healthcare accreditation think tanks – the Joint International (JCI) and the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa.
She noted that SafCare’s programme empowered healthcare providers to progress by helping them to measure, monitor, improve, and benchmark their services using innovative solutions and internationally accredited quality standards.
The standards are accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care External Evaluation Association.
The 13 service elements comprise 170 sub-categorisations (standards) with each standard having four criteria to measure the quality performance of health facilities.
So far, more than 3000 public and private facilities in six countries in Africa have been assessed using the SafeCare standards, with 80 per cent of those facilities improving in quality and 914 health professionals of various specialities have been trained as certified assessors and quality improvement facilitators.
In Ghana, she said the company supported the development of the NHIA credentialing tools, and HeFRA’s inspection tools for licensing, while working with over 600 healthcare facilities to perform 1,117 SafeCare assessments.