Louis Leipoldt Hospital receives quality award

There was great joy and celebration (and a fancy double-layered marzipan cake) when the Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Award was given to the Hospital Secretary, Samantha du Plessis, at Louis Leipoldt Hospital.

Theresa Wilson, Manager of the hospital, said that if anyone deserved the award it was Samantha who “worked late at night” to accommodate the COHSASA accreditation process and worked on so many aspects of the quality improvement process.

The award, the Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Trophy is awarded to an individual, a unit, a department or a discipline in a healthcare facility that has made the most impressive or substantial contribution to quality improvement during the COHSASA accreditation process. The recipient is not selected by COHSASA but is chosen by the appropriate authority at the healthcare facility.

The trophy honours the memory of COHSASA colleague, Dr Katrin Kleijnhans, who died in September 2016 after a long illness. It is intended that the trophy carry forward her legacy and commemorate the enormous contribution that Dr Kleijnhans made to improving the quality of health care.

After its initial presentation, it is hoped that the trophy will become an annual internal floating trophy, given to a deserving recipient at the facility.

Louis Leipoldt hospital has been accredited by COHSASA six times and their latest award conferred in August 2019 was a four-year full accreditation award. This signals that the hospital has institutionalised the process of quality improvement.

At the award ceremony (from left): Marguerite Beukman, Nursing Manager; Theresa Wilson, General Manager of Louis Leipoldt; Samantha du Plessis, Hospital Secretary and winner of the Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Award and Marilyn Keegan, Communications Manager of COHSASA.





Deadline extended! Submit your extract for the IHI Africa Forum

We’ve extended the deadline!


Are you interested in teaching a session at next year’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI’s) Africa Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare? You have even more time to submit your speaking proposal! Abstracts are now due on 22 September 2019.

We are looking for speaking proposals containing content that is tactical and actionable. We are especially interested in receiving proposals on:

  • Governing Quality
  • Healthcare Delivery Redesign
  • Transforming the Healthcare Workforce
  • Improvement in Difficult Settings



The IHI Africa Forum is the destination for healthcare professionals who are looking for expert guidance on quality and safety while making lasting connections. The conference takes place from 4–6 May 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa. We hope to see you there!

Lead a workshop at IHI’s Africa Forum 2020. Call for Proposals (SUBMIT A PROPOSAL link to http://www.ihi.org/education/Conferences/AfricaForum/Pages/default.aspx?utm_campaign=2020_Africa_Forum&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=75229629&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_6uaGgveyy8eVDEwjcP8StEkFUMFWzvt-N7MY0fErDpNx7GwVO-yAZh7LFIxBX81QLdDF9tuyt1-yGJplBHcHWm7XREg&_hsmi=75230318 )


Not ready to register? Reserve your spot today at no cost.

COHSASA appoints new standards developer

COHSASA’s new Healthcare Standards Development Coordinator is Dr Nicholas Burger (pictured). He comes into COHSASA as a seasoned scientific researcher with three degrees in the field of sports science and exercise medicine but with a wider understanding of the intricacies shaping healthcare service delivery.

Nicholas’ key responsibilities at COHSASA will be to coordinate the standards development process to meet the requirements set out by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) for developing, implementing, reviewing and updating standards for healthcare facility accreditation.

Only 30-years-old, Nicholas describes his medium-to long-term career aspirations on his Linked-In profile as being “to enhance the quality of life and experience for all stakeholders interacting within healthcare systems, including patients and clinicians, through focused research methodologies, technological advances, and other innovative solutions.”

His latest career move into standards development is where he believes he has found his niche. “I feel passionate about improving quality and mitigating risk for the benefit of all actors within the health system.”

No ivory-tower academic

Nicholas is not an ivory-tower academic, believing that research should not gather dust on a shelf. “Too many doctoral studies in South Africa concentrate on subjects that are obscure and irrelevant to the needs of the country. I believe that every thesis should add value by solving relevant issues so that it impacts on and benefits society.”

Nicholas began his career at Stellenbosch University in 2008 where he studied for a BSc in Sport Science. He was the top overall student in his final year. This was followed by an Honours degree in Physiological Science a year later. His thesis focused on the damaging effects of downhill running on skeletal muscle. He then moved across to the University of Cape Town where his Masters degree morphed into a PhD in Exercise Science.

Mentored by a team of top SA Rugby medical experts and sports science legends (Dr Sharief Hendricks and Professors Mike Lambert and Tim Noakes), Nicholas embarked on research that would examine safe techniques in rugby tackling. His research is frequently cited because – as anyone who follows the sport knows – rugby injuries can be catastrophic and life changing, and the area of injury prevention has gained immense momentum in recent years.

Making things safer and better

“Aside from the immediate injury and its medical consequences, it is also the financial and social implications that impact heavily on the player and his/her family.” These aspects concern Nicholas. It is part of what he wants to change about our society.

“I want to make things better and safer—whether it be on the field of play or in the operating theatre—through mitigating risk.”

He has presented work from his thesis at several local and international conferences including the 34th International Conference on Biomechanics in Sport in Japan (2016), the 16th Biennial Congress of the South African Sports Medicine Association in South Africa (2015), the 11th Annual Meeting and 6th Conference of HEPA (European network for the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity) Europe in Turkey (2015), and the 20th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science in Sweden (2015).

From January 2012 to June 2019, Nicholas assisted with scientific research at the University of Cape Town’s Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM). His key responsibilities included data collection/management and analysis as well as mentoring and lecturing students. He has also conducted peer reviews for some of the world’s leading sports science and sports injury publications.

No stranger to academic publishing, Nicholas has published five academic papers as first author and six as co-author in some of the world’s most prestigious sports science journals including the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and the European Journal of Sport Science.

Prior to COHSASA, Nicholas was employed as a healthcare consultant at US-based market research and consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, where he focused on markets in Africa and the Middle East. He operated across various disease areas and healthcare sectors including pharmaceuticals, hospitals/healthcare infrastructure and medical devices.

For all his interest in sport (principally tennis and football) and his professional capacity to consult on health and wellness, Nicholas is not radical about prescribing wholesale lifestyle changes—unless they are warranted. “Changes to one’s lifestyle can be small and incremental and, if sustained and consolidated, will eventually manifest in improved quality of life and positive health outcomes.”

Welcome to COHSASA Nicholas!

A survivor finds a mission…

Gloria Gaynor’s hit song “I Will Survive” keeps coursing through my head during the interview with new COHSASA employee, Zanele Maweyi (right).

Zanele, mother of three, was unemployed for eight months before she landed the position of Secretary to the CEO of COHSASA recently.

“There were many days when I was not sure how I was going to feed my children,” she says matter-of-factly.

With all her credentials, including her current studies for a Diploma in Office Management and Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), it is admirable that Zanele, a gentle but feisty personality, survived the despair of unemployment when her brother was stabbed eight times in October last year.

She lives in Gugulethu beyond the busy Cape Town Metropole and, like thousands of other South Africans, undertakes the mammoth task of getting to work every day. Taxis are expensive; the trains are being burnt and buses are too often unreliable.

From the time she completed her Matric at the Simon Estes Music High School (named after the famous African-American opera singer), Zanele has been conscientious in building up her career. She started working at Pick ‘n Pay soon after she adopted her cousin’s two children; a daughter, Simankele and a son Masixole who are now 13 and 11 years old respectively. Four years ago, she had her own daughter, Khanyisa.

After obtaining a Business Management Certificate at Mother City College, Zanele spent two years (from 2008 to 2010) at Varsity College obtaining qualifications in Bookkeeping and Financial Accounting. In 2015 she obtained a certificate from Varsity College in Business Communication.

She has held positions as receptionist, PA, finance assistant and office administrator in various Cape Town firms. In 2018 she held the position of PA to the MD and Chief Operating Officer at Nali’bali, a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading.

Zanele hopes to continue developing her career at COHSASA.

“I hope that I will use what I learn to one day be a Managing Director of an IT company. It is IT that truly interests me”. Given her resilience and courage, nothing is impossible for this 32-year-old.


Western Cape Mediclinics receive a cluster of quality awards

Three Mediclinic hospitals in the Western Cape received Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Trophies from The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa NPC (COHSASA) recently.

The Katrin Kleijnhans Trophy (pictured left) was instituted by COHSASA. It is awarded to an individual, a unit, a department or a discipline in a healthcare facility that has made the most impressive or substantial contribution to quality improvement during the COHSASA accreditation process. The recipient is not selected by COHSASA but chosen by an appropriate authority at the healthcare facility.

The 22-cm glass trophy honours the memory of COHSASA colleague, Dr Katrin Kleijnhans, who died in 2016 after a long illness. It is intended that the trophy carry forward her legacy and commemorate the enormous contribution that Dr Kleijnhans made to improving of the quality of health care in Africa.

The long-term goal of the award is that it becomes an annual internal floating trophy, given to a deserving recipient at the facility.

From left: Members of the TSEBO Housekeeping Team Chernay Hildebrandt (Contract manager); Margaret Williams; Brenda Jacobs; Ferensia Boer; Jermaine Solomons; Mariëtte Anthony; Naomi Magonga and Lillian Dirks.

First up was Mediclinic Paarl. The Hospital Manager, Jeanine Visser, presented the trophy to the TSEBO Housekeeping Team on 10 April 2019. Sr Riëtte Miller, the Unit Manager of Theatre, was the joint recipient of the award.

Manager of the Theatre Unit, Sr Riëtte Miller (Left) with Mrs Jeanine Visser (Hospital General Manager).



Mediclinic Vergelegen

Then it was the turn of Mediclinic Vergelegen which handed out the Katrin Kleijnhans Trophy on 25th April 2019 along with several other achievements by hospital staff.

Michelle Zietsman, Learning and Development Facilitator received the Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Trophy in 2019 at Mediclinic Vergelegen from COHSASA Communications Manager, Ms Marilyn Keegan.











Michelle Zietsman, Learning and Development Facilitator, received the Katrin Kleijnhans trophy for her sterling work in implementing the quality improvement and accreditation process at the hospital.


Representatives from all sections and units of Mediclinic Vergelegen received individual certificates for achieving compliance with the COHSASA standards. The afternoon was one of celebration at the excellent standards being maintained at this hospital.



Mediclinic Panorama

Staff at Mediclinic Panorama who were awarded the Katrin Kleijnhans trophy for improving quality in 2019 were (from left): Miss Mimi Mokgothu, Deputy Nursing Manager and Monique Leendertz-Lang, Support Services Manager. With them (centre) is Jacqui Stewart, the CEO of COHSASA.

The quality improvement gatekeepers at Mediclinic Panorama for clinical and administrative services were recognised for their work in quality and patient safety when they were rewarded at a short ceremony, organised by the hospital manager Riaan Vorster, at the hospital on May 7, 2019.

COHSASA CEO elected to prestigious international academy

The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa NPC (COHSASA) is deeply honoured and proud to announce that its CEO, Ms Jacqui Stewart (right) has been elected to the International Academy of Quality & Safety in Health Care (IAQS), established by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), to recognise distinguished individuals who have made a significant contribution in the field of quality and safety in healthcare.

Ms Stewart was a member of the South African Lancet Commission on High Quality Health Systems and is an ISQua Expert. She is currently an ISQua Board member and serves on the Accreditation Council of ISQua. She has a Master of Professional Studies Health from Middlesex University, London and was recently chosen as one 100 Most Impactful Healthcare Leaders by the World Health & Wellness Congress for 2019.

Luminaries in the quality improvement universe

She joins luminaries in the universe of quality improvement and patient safety. These are professionals such as Sir Liam Donaldson, Donald Berwick, Jeffrey Braithwaite, Charles Vincent and Bill Runciman. Her fellow members of the academy from South Africa are Laetitia Rispel, Professor of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand and Professor Morgan Chetty, Chair of the Independent Practitioners Association Foundation in South Africa.

Those elected to the academy from the continent of Africa are Dr Gilbert Buckle, Executive Director, Africa Institute of Health Quality Safety and Accreditation (AfIHQSA), Ghana (he is also a COHSASA Board Member), Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, Executive Director and Head, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Africa Region, Ghana and Emmanuel Aiyenigba Improvement Advisor for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Nigeria.

Recognising excellence

According to the ISQua website  (https://www.isqua.org/networks/isqua-academy.html), the Academy recognises excellence of leadership within research, academia or service delivery in quality and safety in healthcare. Membership of the Academy is one of the highest honours that an individual working in this area can receive.

The 35 founding members of the IAQS were nominated and then elected by ISQua Experts and the Board in June 2018. Membership of the Academy is for life. Professor David Bates, President of ISQua from 2013-2015 and the Medical Director of Clinical and Quality Analysis, Information Systems, Partners HealthCare System, Inc., Chief Division of General Internal Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, USA, leads the Academy.

Quality Management Conference at Africa Health a great success

If you missed the Quality Management Conference at Africa Health Exhibition and Congress at Gallagher Estate on 29 and 30 May, you missed a great deal. The two-day conference, with masterclasses from experts all over the world, was a packed-out success. Nobody left, not even in the death-throes of the last afternoon.
People interested in improving quality and patient safety heard the latest thinking on issues of quality from experts in the field. COHSASA also hosted a stand at Africa Health and manned the ISQua stand next door. The main promotion was to encourage registration for ISQua’s Annual Conference to be held for the first time on the African continent in Cape Town from October 20-23 later this year.
Both COHSASA and ISQua partnered with Informa for the conference, so there was lots of publicity for ISQua, Cape Town 2019. The theme was ‘Public or Private Health Care – Quality is Everyone’s Business’.
Nino Dal Dayanghirang, Technical Officer for Service Delivery, Quality and Safety at WHO/AFRO started the first day with an overview of WHO quality and safety initiatives. He described the challenges facing those dealing with the Ebola outbreak in the DRC. He talked about the support that WHO is giving to countries to implement National Policies on Quality and Safety as well as the huge range of resources that are available from WHO, such as the Global Learning Laboratory.
This was followed by a presentation by Pat O’Connor, Executive Director of QI Discovery in Dundee, Scotland about some of the quality developments and innovations in the UK. While working for NHS Tayside, Pat pioneered a patient safety system that became the national system for NHS Scotland. Her key message was the importance of getting buy-in from all levels of the organisation and making sure that everybody understands what is being measured and why. She stressed that we must relate the data to the reality of patient care.
Dr Siphiwe Mndaweni, the CEO of the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) in South Africa set the context of the need for regulation and the development process of national core standards to arrive at regulations. She was realistic about the challenges that the OHSC faces and how important it has been to ensure that all are clear about where the responsibilities lie for the implementation of the regulations and the application of sanctions.
The key-note speaker on the first day was Professor Laetitia Rispel, the co-chair of the Lancet National Commission on High Quality Health Systems (South Africa) and an inaugural member of ISQua’s International Academy of Quality and Safety in Health Care (IAQS). She covered the key findings of the report and emphasised the importance of good governance, leadership and management and how challenged the South African health system has been by this.
Garth Hankey, Improvement: Process Coordinator at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town shared the reality and challenges of introducing change into an organisation, in this case Lean methodology, but called the Groote Schuur Project. He shared strategies for engaging staff across the organisation and the importance of getting, and keeping, the team on board.
Dr Grey Dube, CEO of Leratong Hospital in Johannesburg also talked about implementing Lean methods. He received mentoring from John Toussaint of ThedaCare in the US. He stressed the importance of being realistic and started the programme in a few departments – patient registration, laboratory, pharmacy and OPD where there were long waits for patients and lots of complaints.
Grace Kiwanuka, the Executive Director of the Ugandan Health Federation, shared the work being done in Uganda linking the public and private healthcare sectors and trying to establish common standards and assessments. She emphasised the importance of building excellent relationships and mutual understanding.
Russell Rensburg, Director of the Rural Health Advocacy Project in South Africa opened the second day with the real-life challenges facing patients trying to access services. He used the example of a patient with mental illness who could no longer afford private care and the challenges she faced trying to get into the public health system. He made the claim that 75% of patients who need psychiatric treatment in South Africa do not get it.
Jacqui Stewart, CEO of COHSASA, who chaired the conference and assembled the speakers, spoke about external evaluation and accreditation being a driver for improvement – the standards provide part of the improvement toolkit. The healthcare facility team should set their own timeline – achieving accreditation is a marathon, not a sprint and we should not be afraid to set a trajectory towards excellence.
Dr Gilbert Buckle from Ghana gave a key-note address ‘Forget about Outputs, Focus on Outcomes’. He suggested that we need outcomes that are meaningful for patients – what if surgeons were rated on the number of complications during surgery or midwives on the number of stillbirths of babies with foetal heart distress? He posed the question, “Could an outcome be happy patients?”
The two-day event gave time for three excellent master classes by Lauren de Kock, Regional Director: Continuous Quality Improvement and Training at the Aurum Institute in Johannesburg, Pat O’Connor and Gilbert Buckle.
A panel discussion gave three great take-away messages. Dare to be different – if we keep doing the same, we shall continue to get the same. Accountability to the communities that we serve. We need to treat patients and staff with dignity – to give us dignified health systems
Some of these speakers will be on the programme for ISQua 2019 in Cape Town. If attendance was anything to go by, this Quality Management Conference is a sure winner.


Speakers at the Quality Management Conference at Africa Health (from left): Gilbert Buckle, Grace Kiwanuka, Jacqui Stewart, Garth Hankey, Nino Dal Dayanghirang, Lauren De Kock, Pat O’Connor.

A large crowd attended the conference for the full two days.

Jacqui Stewart, CEO of COHSASA, chaired the Quality Management Conference at Africa Health