The Ghana Health Service, as the major (public) healthcare service provider in Ghana, is deepening its commitment to advocating for and advancing access to high-quality and safe healthcare, a critical component for the attainment of a universal healthcare agenda. Under the distinguished leadership of the Director General, Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye, the GHS has partnered with PharmAccess Ghana to undertake a collaborative initiative of introducing the SafeCare Quality Improvement Program on a small scale in the Savannah and Bono East regions. This small-scale rollout was purposed to evaluate the adoption and integration of the SafeCare Standards and quality improvement methodology in the GHS settings and systems to bring about changes and improvement.
Improving Quality of Care
Forty healthcare facilities from the two regions comprising district hospitals, polyclinics, and health centres have been introduced to the SafeCare quality standards and improvement methodology over the past year. The facilities were assessed at baseline using the ISQua’s External Evaluation Association (IEEA) accredited standards and followed with a series of quality improvement activities designed to support the facilities in implementing changes to improve their baseline performance. The healthcare facilities are also supported with a digital application for accessing supportive documents and tracking the activities, as well as training and other capacity-building approaches to ensure that internal capacities are developed for continuous improvement.
Additionally, over 100 smaller healthcare facilities (CHPS compound) from the Savannah and Bono East regions were introduced to a self-administering assessment tool for the providers to evaluate their facilities’ performance in quality and receive improvement recommendations for implementation.
Collaborative Efforts for Better Healthcare
Early in September 2023, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service embarked on supportive supervision at the two regions to visit selected facilities that are implementing the SafeCare program. The purpose was to have a first-hand observation of the uptake of the program in the healthcare facilities, identify the progress as well as implementation challenges and, more importantly, send a wave of inspiration across all the other facilities to encourage even higher efforts towards improving quality of care. Having been inspired by the successful adoption of the SafeCare program within the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), the Director General extended an invitation to the Executive Director of CHAG, Dr. Peter Yeboah, to bring on board his experiences in the program. The two were accompanied by the Country Director of PharmAccess, Dr. Maxwell Akwasi Antwi.
During the visit, the Director General of GHS, Dr. Patrick Kuma Aboagye, expressed contentment about the uptake of the QI program in the facilities. He underscored the importance of stakeholders being deliberate about quality improvement, emphasizing the pivotal role of leadership, attitude, and investment in the successful implementation of quality improvement programs like SafeCare. The Director General urged the leadership of the facilities and the Regional Health Directorate to sustain and continue the program because, according to him, the quality improvement program has come to stay.
Dr. Peter Yeboah, CHAG, took the opportunity to share his extensive experiences with the SafeCare Quality Improvement Program with the Regional Health Directorate Leaders and the healthcare facilities Management and Staff. Dr. Peter Yeboah highlighted the significant progress made by CHAG since the inception of the SafeCare program in 2019. He proposed healthy competition and collaboration between GHS and CHAG in pursuit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through equitable and high-quality healthcare access.
He said that the GHS healthcare facilities that were visited reported marked improvements in the overall quality of care since the start of the SafeCare Program. Dr Peter Yeboah hinted, “These improvements are a testament to the effectiveness of the SafeCare methodology in enhancing healthcare service delivery.”
The Country Director of PharmAccess, Dr. Maxwell Antwi, emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts between the government and private organizations to establish a resilient, high-quality healthcare delivery system. He stressed the urgency of creating a healthcare system that ensures patients receive adequate care without the need for physical activation—a legacy health system for the current generation.
The SafeCare Small-Scale Rollout Project in Ghana Health Service is a testament to the power of partnerships and the potential for significant improvements in healthcare quality and delivery. As this project continues to evolve, it holds the promise of positively impacting the lives of many Ghanaians by providing them with access to high-quality healthcare services.
The Ghana Health Service’s small-scale rollout of the SafeCare program is one year in October 2023. The forty healthcare facilities that received independent onsite assessments have been reassessed to evaluate their quality performance over the one-year period of the program implementation. Preliminary report indicates that out of the thirty-six of the facilities that have been re-assessed, 75% have improved in their quality scores. The most outstanding of these achievements is that Bamboi Polyclinic has now attained SafeCare Level 4 from Level 2 at the baseline assessment.
The SafeCare Director of Ghana, Ms. Bonifacia Benefo Agyei, sends a word of congratulations to the facility’s Management and Staff for this great effort. She encourages the Management and Staff to sustain the improvement by continuing in the QI activities, adhering to the established processes and procedures, and aiming for SafeCare Level 5. She also recommends that the other facilities emulate the example of Bamboi Polyclinic.