By Flavia Nassaka
Owing to the implications of offering poor quality health services including avoidable deaths, the Ministry of Health has launched a Self-Regulatory Quality Improvement System (SQIS), a tool that can be used by private health facilities in Uganda at all levels to self-assess their facilities on whether they are offering the right quality of care.
“What has been developed is a practical and user friendly tool, which is key for facilities to adopt. Its launch is an important step in ensuring our population has access to only safe and quality medical care”, said Dr. Sarah Byakika the Ministry’s Acting Commissioner for Planning.
In self- assessment, Grace Kiwanuka, the Director of Uganda HealthCare Federation (UHF), an umbrella body for non-state health players told the Independent that stakeholders will be able to identify the gaps which need improvement.
The SQIS tool which can be accessed from both on line and paper form is a checklist with guidance questions and definitions focusing on 19 key quality health management standards which include infrastructure and amenities, laboratory services, occupational health and safety, infection control and prevention among others.
The system which will be implemented through the Health Professionals Councils, professional associations, UHF and the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is anticipated to enhance the relationship between the regulator and the private health sector, from that of fault finding to a more supportive and collaborative one. Before rolling it out the entire country, they will first cover Kampala since the city has more drug shops, clinics and hospitals.
Dr. Joel Okullo, Chairperson of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC) speculates success with the use of the tool as he says it’s an opportunity for them to modernize the way they regulate private health facilities by placing more responsibility in the hands of the facilities to prepare for the licensing process than it is now where they bump into clueless providers as far as healthcare is concerned.