In 1994, the Pilot Accreditation Programme for South African Health Services was launched as a research and development programme in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Stellenbosch under the directorship of Professor Stuart Whittaker. The programme grew rapidly and evaluation research showed that it was well received and perceived to be of considerable value to participating facilities.
The rapid expansion of the programme resulted in the perception that it was too big for a single department and not an appropriate function of the University.
The emergence of COHSASA as an independent, non-partisan unit was a logical development. In 1995, in a memorandum of agreement, the University of Stellenbosch transferred the accreditation copyright and obligations to COHSASA, which was registered as a not-for-profit organisation. It started operations from a small office in Pinelands, Cape Town in 1996.
Over the past 18 years, COHSASA has developed healthcare accreditation programmes for hospitals, sub-acute care, psychiatric facilities and programmes, primary health care clinics, ambulance services and medical emergency centres and general practitioners.
The SafeCare Foundation
The aim of SafeCare is to ensure Africans and others in resource-restricted countries have access to safe, quality health care. Through the SafeCare Foundation, primary healthcare providers – even those with very few resources – will be able to improve their service delivery and, in so doing, reach international standards of care for patients.
SafeCare was established following a landmark two-day conference on basic healthcare standards in Cape Town on March 9 and 10, 2011.
It is a partnership between COHSASA, PharmAccess Foundation of the Netherlands and the Joint Commission International, the United States-based quality standards authority.
The SafeCare Foundation, which has evolved out of the SafeCare Initiative, is a repository of methods, tools
The healthcare facilities, some of them coming in at very poor baselines, gradually improve their ability to provide safe and quality healthcare and along the way – as a means of encouragement – are awarded certificates that mark their progress towards achieving excellence.
Several facilities in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana are undergoing SafeCare interventions.
SafeCare is now poised to be rolled out across Africa. It offers a comprehensive toolkit to make a real difference: a set of standards tried and tested instruments, innovative training methods and financing incentives and monitoring and reporting tools that can be used by assessors to help healthcare facilities provide safe and quality care to patients.
View the SafeCare website at www.safe-care.org
Certificates of Improvement
SafeCare Health Initiative Film