Better Quality Healthcare on the Horizon for Africa

The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA) has been appointed as an institutional member to the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) Board.

COHSASA is the first quality accreditation body from Africa to be voted to the board. The announcement was made last night during the ISQua annual general meeting (AGM).

COHSASA has been working throughout Africa for the past 22 years across 600 healthcare facilities to improve the quality and safety of healthcare services provided to patients.

According to the CEO of COHSASA, Jacqui Stewart, the organisation’s appointment presents new opportunities for low and middle-income countries (LMIC) to improve quality in their healthcare facilities.

ISQua is a global organisation driving quality and safety improvement in healthcare worldwide. As a member of the Board, COHSASA will have access to a global network of experts and organisations to share learnings, external evaluation and health system support.

“There’s an undeniable need for healthcare quality in LMIC, so I was pleased to learn that COHSASA had been nominated and voted in to join the ISQua Board by other members. By having a seat we’ll not only have greater insight into what’s happening internationally, but we’ll also be able to represent LMIC and our unique challenges when it comes to quality, safety and accreditation,” said Stewart.

Earlier this year it was announced that COHSASA was successful in its bid to host the 36th annual ISQua Conference in Cape Town in October 2019. This will be the first time in 30 years that the conference will be held in Africa. “This is an example of ISQua’s growing interest in Africa,” said Stewart. “Part of ISQua’s mission is to foster innovation, and Africa is full of innovation due to its resource constraints.”

The emphasis on quality healthcare continues to gain momentum in the move towards National Health Insurance (NHI). Stewart, who was appointed to the Lancet Global Health Commission on High Quality Health Systems in the SDG Era (HQSS Commission), believes that it is critical to engage in quality improvement as health services expand access under universal healthcare coverage.

In May 2017 the South Africa National Commission for High Quality Health Systems was established as a local body under the Lancet HQSS Commission to look at how to develop high quality healthcare systems in South Africa under NHI and how to share that learning globally.

“It’s been made very clear that quality is the cornerstone of NHI, so I think this Lancet Commission will really feed into how we prepare for NHI – what needs to be done, what’s doing well, what still needs to be done and how we are going to do it,” concluded Stewart.

Accreditation is one of the marks of good quality and, according to Stewart, COHSASA is setting the gold standard in healthcare quality in Africa helping people and facilities achieve that excellence.

Credits: Image and article content courtesy of Taryn Springhall and Terri Chowles of EHealthNews.

Clinical Management of Mediclinic Morningside receives Quality Award

COHSASA CEO, Jacqui Stewart (left) presents the Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Award to Sister Margaret Lidovho who heads up the Quality Improvement Programmes in the hospital. According to Mediclinic Morningside, Margaret provides leadership, guidance and excellence in her task to the Clinical Management team.

Above: Jacqui Stewart with the Clinical Management Team of Mediclinic Morningside which constantly strives to drive clinical quality improvement. From left (front row): Sr Karuna Jamalooden, Sr Jean Erasmus, Sr Margaret Lidovho, Sr Kombi Katuta. From left to right back row: Sr Patricia Gcabashe, Sr Joanne Madeley, Sr Joanne van Rensburg, Sr Anna Matela and Sr Dudu Mabaso.

Proud members of the Mediclinic Morningside Clinical Management Team received the Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Trophy from the CEO of The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa, Jacqui Stewart.

In presenting the award, Ms Stewart, said that it was an honour for her to present the award to the clinical management team personally. It is obvious that the team is committed to quality and works hard to maintain very high standards.

The 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 facility management.

Hospital Manager, Richard Brett said that it was an easy decision to nominate the Clinical Management Team.

“This beautiful trophy, with its shape echoing the COHSASA logo, honours the memory of our COHSASA colleague, Dr Katrin Kleijnhans, who died on September 28, 2016 after a long illness. It is intended that the trophy carry forward her legacy and encourage others to share her enormous passion for ensuring quality and safety in health care.

“We hope that after its initial presentation, the trophy will become an annual internal floating trophy, and will encourage others to strive for excellence,” she said.


For more information: Marilyn Keegan @ or Mobile: 083 703 7789

COHSASA throws centre-pass for netball players

The Netball Team from the West Coast District that COHSASA is helping to get to SA Championships

As a corporate social responsibility initiative, COHSASA makes an annual donation to the West Coast Netball District Management Team to assist players elected to play for provincial teams or chosen to represent the Western Cape u/19 and u/21 teams at the Spar National Championships.

COHSASA’s donation assists players with clothing, travel and accommodation needs.

The West Coast Netball District is an affiliate of the Western Cape Netball Federation, Netball South Africa as well as West Coast Sport Forum and Western Cape Sport Confederation.

With its headquarters in Moorreesburg and where all games are played, the West Coast district cover a large area. Its borders stretch from Bitterfontein, the most northern area of the Western Cape, to Atlantis in the South. These distances make travel to league games or provincial practice sessions an expensive exercise.  There are 25 clubs with 34 teams in the West Coast Netball District playing league matches.

In May 2017, three West Coast Players were selected for the Western Cape teams that participated at the SA u/19 and u/21 tournaments.

Many farm workers reside in the community that makes up West Coast Netball District and the netball management is actively involved in uplifting these players through training coaches, umpires, technical staff and teaching administrative skills.

Says Esta Visagie Team Manager for the West Coast Netball District, “Our District is proud of what has been achieved. We are privileged to have a strong management team who love the game of netball and will do anything to assist our players. There are very talented young women in our district who are devoted to their netball. Unfortunately, the financial burden of getting to practices and paying for all the expenses often prevent these young girls from making themselves available for the provincial teams. I therefore once again thank COHSASA for its contribution in helping these girls to make their dreams come true.”

COHSASA appoints quality advisor/surveyor

Dr Boitumelo Kosi

Recently appointed as a Quality Advisor/ surveyor, Dr Biotumelo (Tumi) Kosi admits that her life has changed dramatically since she joined COHSASA.

“I see things differently,” she says. As a young intern working at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in the Eastern Cape she was so focused on the clinical aspects of her work with patients that she rarely had an opportunity to get to know, see or experience many of the departments in the hospital.

“Through COHSASA and attending surveys, I have now become aware of a complete picture. One begins to see a hospital as an active, operating organism with a life of its own. I now have a truly comprehensive understanding of how hospitals function. 

“I have also found that working in the field of quality improvement is changing my mindset: I am beginning to apply the principles of QI in my own life. I work out solutions to problems in my everyday life!”

Obtaining her MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2010, Tumi completed her internship working rotations through paediatrics, internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology and completing three months of family medicine. This entailed primary health care, anaesthesia, accident and emergencies and orthopaedics. She was responsible for the clinical management of a wide spectrum of patients, including those with TB and HIV and she also assisted in theatre cases – particularly Caesarean Sections.

She moved back to Cape Town to complete her Community Service year at a primary health clinic with the Department of Health in the Western Cape. Here she encountered the full range of illness including chronic and sub-acute conditions.

After her Community Service year, from 2014-2017, Tumi became a Registrar with the National Health Laboratory Service where she prepared specimens and conducted microscopic examination and diagnosis of haematoxylin and eosin stains (H&E stains) in tissue. She worked in a team to conduct cytological examination of gynaecological and non-gynaecological specimens and gave academic presentations. She also taught medical students.

Before and after her Registrar contract, Tumi also worked at a private facility, Ikhaya Lempilo (a Xhosa word that means “house of wellness”). Here she treated a vast array of patients, many with HIV and TB.

It was while she was employed in the public sector that Tumi had to come face-to-face with the harsh reality that many young doctors working in the South African public sector must endure. While she loved her work, she found the conditions extremely stressful. The patient loads are often unrealistic and burnout is not uncommon.

“At times, I was overwhelmed and I decided that I needed a change from clinical care. Many doctors in the South African public system find that the conditions are difficult and they leave the country. I don’t want to do that – I will go overseas at some stage but I will bring any expertise I gain there back to South Africa.”

She hopes to bring her sharp analytical skills to the COHSASA table. “I tend to analyse things and I have a very strong inborn sense of risk assessment and prevention before there is a calamity! I would like to invest these skills in creating safe care for patients.

“Since I joined COHSASA I have become more interested in the legal aspects of medicine and the role of human rights in patient care.”

What lies in the future for Tumi?

“I hope to travel overseas in future. I would love to work in the UK and gain experience in the NHS. Then I want to return to South Africa and implement what I have learnt overseas to benefit the local population.

In the meantime, she will indulge in her favourite pastimes – walking and reading.

Welcome Tumi!

Cure Day Clinics: a vote of confidence in COHSASA accreditation programmes

To ensure that it provides safe, quality care to all its patients, the Cure Day Clinics Group is entering all its hospitals in the quality improvement and accreditation programme of the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA).

Two Cure Day hospitals have recently been accredited by COHSASA and Cure Day is now placing the remaining six facilities into the programme. This is due to the firm belief of Managing Director, Bert von Wielligh, that COHSASA accreditation adds value to the services provided.

COHSASA is the only African health service assessment body accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua). It has been operating on the continent for the past 22 years and has worked in all types of healthcare facilities.

(ABOVE): Bert von Wielligh, MD for the Cure Day Clinics Holdings, outlines the plans his group has for involvement with COHSASA and growing Cure Day into a national footprint. Bert is well-versed in the subject of patient safety and quality improvement and assurance. He was the MD for the Curamed Group and served as Operational Director for Medclinic’s Tshwane Region. Bert’s experience includes involvement with the National Hospital Network (NHN) and the Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA).

The philosophy that underpins Cure Day Clinics is to provide private health care that is more affordable and therefore more accessible to more South Africans.

Beginning operations at Medkin in March 2008, Cure Day Clinics – wholly owned by doctors and incorporating an authentic BBBEE partnership – has grown to eight facilities. Four of these are in Gauteng (Medkin, Midstream, Erasmuskloof and Fourways), one in Bloemfontein and three in the Western Cape in Paarl, Somerset West and Bellville.

It is the Somerset West and Bellville hospitals that have recently been accredited by COHSASA. Both facilities achieved impressive scores with Cure Day Clinics Somerset West achieving a score of 96 out of a possible 100 and Cure Day Clinics Bellville scoring 95.

Following the award of accreditation certificates to the two Cure Day facilities, Jacqui Stewart, COHSASA CEO presented CobiMarie Stander, Manager of Cure Day Clinics in Somerset West and Ezette van Braker, Clinic Manager, manager of Cure Day Clinics in Bellville with the Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Award in recognition of their teams’ commitment to improving quality and patient safety.

Included in this accreditation process is the assessment of compliance with the South African Society of Anaestheologists (SASA) guidelines on procedural sedation and analgesia.

Procedural Sedation has gained popularity as a cost-effective alternative to general anaesthesia for certain procedures. While the safety of procedural sedation is not in dispute, its administration does require strict adherence to internationally accepted practice guidelines. SASA issued the guidelines for all practitioners providing sedation. Prof James Roelofse and his colleagues in the Society of Sedation Practitioners of South Africa (SOSPOSA) developed the guidelines to incorporate all aspects of patient safety in procedural sedation. Patient safety is a key component of all COHSASA’s healthcare standards.

Same-day surgery has grown internationally due to the improvements in medical technology and anaesthesia, leading to faster recovery times and fewer side effects.

Michelle Gumede reports in Business Day, “Day hospitals are a recent addition to SA, but more and more of these convenient one-day facilities are cropping up across the country. Already 41 facilities — mostly in Gauteng and the Western Cape — are represented by the Day Hospital Association of SA (DHASA).

“Companies such as Netcare, Mediclinic, Advanced Health and the Cure Day Clinic group are among those that have taken advantage of this international trend — even though South Africans have not yet come to terms with these facilities which experts say offer patients better value for money.

“The hospitals focus on the provision of short-procedure surgical services as well as on diagnostic procedures that have to be undertaken in an operating theatre on a same-day basis. Services ideal for such hospitals include plastic surgery, gynaecological, orthopaedic, urological and maxillofacial surgery, and several dental, ophthalmic and general procedures.

COHSASA appoints new Board Members, changes in leadership

COHSASA welcomed three new Board Members at its quarterly May 2017 meeting to take the vision and mission of the organisation forward. There was also a change of leadership at the top of the Board. Ms Sharon Slabbert has been appointed Chairperson of the Board with Professor Gert van Zyl as vice-Chair.

The Board thanked Professor Erwin Schwella for his many years of excellent leadership as former Chair of the Board. Professor Schwella, appointed as Chairperson in 2014, is taking up a full professorship at the School of Governance at Tilburg University, Netherlands.

Wishing Professor Schwella the very best for the future, CEO of COHSASA, Jacqui Stewart remarked: “It was particularly noted how much the Board appreciated your ‘out of the box’ and strategic thinking which has proved invaluable at the annual strategic planning meeting.”



From left (above): Former COHSASA Chairperson, Professor Erwin Schwella, new COHSASA Chairperson, Sharon Slabbert and new Vice-Chair Professor Gert van Zyl.

Sharon Slabbert, a key figure in health care in South Africa, is the Executive officer; Health service delivery at the Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA). She has been involved in matters related to quality, private hospital management and nursing in the South African health industry for many years.

Professor Gert van Zyl, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State and a previous member of the Board of the Office of Health Standards Compliance is an Inaugural Fellow of the Association of Medical Education Europe and President of the SA Association of Health Educationalists.

A renowned researcher, Prof Van Zyl has served and is serving on several medical and dental board committees and on the Health Professions Council of South Africa. His passion for quality clinical health service delivery makes him an excellent appointment to this position.


The new Board Members are (from left above): Mrs Madelein Mkunu, Professor Ethelwynn Stellenberg and Dr Sibusiso Zuma.

Commenting on the appointment of the new directors, CEO of COHSASA Jacqui Stewart said: “I am delighted to welcome our three new Board members.  They have a wealth of experience  and expertise and bring very diverse skill sets to the Board.”

New Chairman of the Board, Sharon Slabbert said: “I welcome with delight the new board members with their diverse areas of expertise and experience and I look forward to many years of mutual benefit as we work towards improving quality in healthcare facilities all over Africa.”

Mrs Madelein Mkunu, an accountant by profession, is the founder and President of Leading Women of Africa and Director of LWA-Corporate Investment, a firm that aims to increase the number of women involved in investment, international trade and other services on the continent. She is a Professional Fellow with the U.S. Department of State at Michigan State University on women economic empowerment, strengthening leadership capacity and professional skills.

Passionate about leadership, Mrs Mkunu believes that her appointment to the Board of COHSASA will contibute in adding leadership support to COHSASA clients from around Africa.

Professor Ethelwynn Stellenberg is one of South Africa's most accomplished professional nurses. She is the Associate Professor of Nursing at Stellenbosch University, overseeing advanced degrees in nursing and teaches risk management to post graduate students in the Nursing Management and Health Services Programme. She was Head of Reseach for a number of years, currently she is the Head of Quality Management and Regulation in the Department of Nursing and Midwifery. She has played a significant role in the advanced educuation of South African nurses. She is a ministerial re-appointee for a second term of office to the Board for the Office of Health Standards Compliance. In addition to serving on the Board she also serves as Chairperson of the Human Relations and Remuneration committee as well as serving on the Enforcement and Certification Committee. Professor Stellenberg's appointment will continue to contibute boldly and fearlessly to safe quality patient care. 

Dr Sibusiso Zuma is a technnical advisor on primary health care at FHI 360 focusing on quality improvement and achievement of Ideal Clinic status. He has many years of experience as a Senior Manager of clinical quality in three of South African provinces and holds several degrees in the field of health studies, including a Doctorate of Philosophy and Literature in Health Studies.

Dr Zuma has a wide range of knowledge on managing and monitoring health standards compliance and overseeing quality improvement programmes. About his appointment to the COHSASA Board he said, “ I believe my appointment to the Board  will contribute towards increasing the footprint of COHSASA  in both public and private sectors  with a special focus on the primary health care services .”

COHSASA plays a role in largest healthcare conference in Africa

COHSASA was one of 540 companies from 18 different countries to host an exhibition for three days at the largest health conference on the continent. Africa Health 2017 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in the Midrand attracted over 10 000 health professionals under one roof.
  COHSASA Quality Advisor and Surveyor, Mr Chris Bloem, speaks to potential clients (left) and above, COHSASA CEO, Ms Jacqui Stewart, found time to meet colleagues from other countries during the exhibition.
Not only did COHSASA participate in the exhibition but COHSASA supported and CEO, Ms Jacqui Stewart, chaired the Quality Management Conference for an audience of around 350 in the auditorium. 
This was one of 13 conference tracks accredited by the University of Johannesburg. The subjects covered the business case for quality, insights on sustaining quality in public and private healthcare sectors, reviewing strategies for developing a quality programme and assessing quality initiatives in both public and private sectors.
Ms Stewart had speakers from all over the African continent well qualified to explore the learning objectives. The keynote presentation was delivered by Dr Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, the Executive Director and Head: Africa Region, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Accra, Ghana. Other speakers were:
  • Ms Shivani Ranchod, Healthcare Actuary and Head: Public Sector Practice, Insight Actuaries and Consultants, Cape Town;
  • Dr Gareth Kantor, Co-Founder of Best Care Always, Cape Town, South Africa;
  • Ms Lauren de Kock, Technical Director: Quality Implementation and Training, The Aurum Institute, Johannesburg;
  • Ms Millicent Olulo, Program Director, SafeCare, Nairobi, Kenya;
  • Ms Jackie Nabukeera, Manager Clinical Services and Quality Assurance, International Hospital(IHK), Kampala, Uganda;
  • Ms Baile Moagi, Director Health Inspectorate, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Gaborone, Botswana
  • Mr Elom Otchi, Healthcare Quality and Safety Expert, QI Manager, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Dr Rolene Wagner, CEO of Frere Provincial Hospital, East London, SA.
The conference was wrapped up with a panel discussion on African solutions to sustaining quality improvement.
   The speakers’ panel answered questions posed by Dr Gareth Kantor, Co-Founder of Best Care Always. From left: Dr Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, Executive Director and Head: Africa Region Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Accra, Ghana (also pictured on the right), Dr Rolene Wagner, CEO of Frere Provincial Hospital, East London, SA and Ms Millicent Olulo, Program Director, SafeCare, Nairobi, Kenya.
“One of the highlight learning experiences of the day was that there are excellent quality initiatives being implemented across the continent and a great willingness to share knowledge and expertise,” said Ms Jacqui Stewart after the conference.
The packed auditorium at the Gallagher Convention Centre.
SAVE THE DATE: The next Africa Health will be held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in the Midrand 29 – 31 May 2018

Nursing Department of Mediclinic Cape Gate receives quality Award


(ABOVE): The Nursing Department at Mediclinic Cape Gate won the annual Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Award from COHSASA. Far left is General Manager of the Mediclinic Cape Gate, Carol Defty. COHSASA Surveyor and Quality Advisor, Riel le Roux, (middle back row), handed over the trophy.

Proud members of the Mediclinic Cape Gate Nursing Team gathered in the hospital’s Board Room in May 2017 to receive the Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Trophy from Quality Advisor and Surveyor, Riel le Roux, of the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa – COHSASA. Mediclinic Cape Gate is the third hospital in the Mediclinic Group to receive the award.

The 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 peer review at the healthcare facility.

The flame-shaped trophy, echoing the COHSASA logo to inspire quality, honours the memory of COHSASA colleague, Dr Katrin Kleijnhans, who died on September 28, 2016 after a long illness. It is intended that the trophy carry forward her legacy and encourage others to share her enormous passion for ensuring quality and safety in health care.

It is hoped that after its initial presentation, the trophy will become an annual internal floating trophy, given to a deserving recipient at Mediclinic Cape Gate in the future.

Mediclinic Cape Gate General Hospital Manager, Mrs Carol Defty, said: “I am very proud of the entire team at Mediclinic Cape Gate as they are passionate about constantly improving on providing safe patient care to all the patients that entrust themselves to our care.”

For more information: Marilyn Keegan @ or Mobile: 083 703 7789