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THE QUALITY ASSURANCE AND QUALITY IMPROVEMENT POLICY AND STRATEGY

The Ministry of Health and Child Care established a Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement (QA/QI) Directorate under the division of Policy, Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation in 2010. Its mandate was to create a system for coordinating all health care related quality efforts under the ministry. This would include, creating platforms to ensure adherence to ministry standards where they are available, facilitating the development of standards where they were not available, as well as developing guidelines on how service delivery can be of the highest possible standards. This is in an effort to ensure that healthcare delivery not only meets, but exceeds the professional standards and client expectations.

 

To achieve this, the directorate needed to develop a Policy clearly setting out “WHAT” was to be achieved over an agreed time-frame, as well as a Strategy outlining “HOW” this would be achieved. Development of these two documents began with engagement of stakeholders since 2013, culminating in the launch on the 29th April 2016. Various stakeholders in the health sector, including public, mission, private and public health programme representatives were involved in the development of the documents. Thematic working groups with wide stakeholder representation were instrumental in the development of these documents.

The target audience for the policy and the strategy are all health providers, planners, programme managers, implementers, teaching/academic institutions, partners in the private and public sectors, non-governmental organisations in the health sector, patients, families and communities.

This QA&QI policy takes into account a health systems strengthening approach based on the six World Health Organisation (WHO) building blocks for a health system namely leadership and governance; human resources for health; medicines, vaccines and other technologies; health information; health financing; as well as service delivery itself. Policy statements address

Likewise, the strategy also takes a systems approach to improving and sustaining high-quality health services in Zimbabwe, highlighting cross-cutting priority intervention areas related to the World Health Organisation’s health system building blocks and priority quality domains (e.g. safety, clinical effectiveness) and priority interventions in vertical disease control programs targeting major causes of morbidity and mortality.

The simultaneous focus on strengthening essential cross-cutting health system functions and continuous improvement of vertical disease programs will help to build a strong health system capable of continuous improvement for achieving optimum health for all Zimbabwean citizens, as per the National Health Strategy.

The launch was preceded by a briefing of the Honourable minister at the MOHCC PMD-Mashonaland Central offices by the Provincial Medical Director for Mash Central, Dr C Tshuma; as well as by the Medical Superintendent, Dr Gwagwa.

Dr J. Z. Chiware, the Director for Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement in the ministry of health gave an overview and background of the QA and QI policy and strategy development. In her address, she gave an account of how the two documents had been developed, as well as expressing her delight in seeing the two documents being launched. She also emphasised the need to now focus on full implementation of the documents’ vision, mission and the activities contained in therein.

Ms T Moyo from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe gave a few remarks in which she identified healthcare as a service in which consumers have rights as per the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection of 1985 which sets out the rights of the consumers of goods and/or services. These rights include, but are not limited to, the right to the satisfaction of basic needs, the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to be heard, the right to redress, the right to consumer education, as well as the right to a healthy environment. She concluded by congratulating the ministry on developing and launching the two documents.

Dr R. Xaba spoke on behalf of the HSB Board Chair, Dr Mbengeranwa. In her remarks, she said that the HSB was aware of the under resourcing of the health services sector. She however extolled the virtues that health workers need to adhere to, and their need to avoid truancy, while encouraging innovation to maintain the quality of health service delivery in spite of the pressing challenges. She also concluded by congratulating the honourable minister, his deputy, the principal director for Policy, Planning, and Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as the QA/QI Director for launching the documents, as per the 2016 plans.

Honourable Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr P. D. Parirenyatwa, emphasized how, since Independence, government had made great strides in improving access to healthcare for the people of Zimbabwe by increasing coverage. However, he deplored how this progress in coverage was not equally matched by an improvement in quality of health service delivery in the public sector. He expressed a commitment by the ministry to quality healthcare, as enshrined in the National Health Strategy that had already been demonstrated through the setting up of a directorate to coordinate this. The honourable minister thanked all the stakeholders that had been involved in the development of both these important documents before urging everyone involved to exert maximum effort in now implementing the provisions of these two documents. As guest of honour, the minister proceeded to launch the two documents to much pageantry and fanfare.

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