Botswana begins the health accreditation journey…

The Honourable Minister of Health and Wellness, Dorcas Makgato with jubilant staff from Mahalapye District Hospital and the Airstrip and Xhosa Clinics who hold up their COHSASA accreditation certificates at one of two ceremonies held in Botswana recently to celebrate the accreditation of five public sector facilities in that country that have received full accreditation.

Even a heavy downpour of rain could not stop the jubilant spirits of Botswana hospital and clinic staff as two hospitals and three clinics – all in the public sector – recently celebrated their two-year accreditation awards from COHSASA. These are the first hospitals and clinics under the control of the Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness to achieve to receive the sought-after COHSASA accreditation awards.

Xhosa and Airstrip primary healthcare clinics, feeder clinics for Mahalapye Hospital and Phutadikobo Clinic, situated in the same district as Scottish Livingstone Hospital, have all achieved compliance with standards that have been internationally accredited. The clinics were accredited earlier in the year but celebrations were combined for all the facilities in December to make a big splash! Two wonderful ceremonies were held at Mahalapye and Scottish Livingstone Hospitals.

Scottish Livingstone District Hospital is situated in Molepolole, in the Kweneng East District. The hospital operates as a district hospital and supports a number of surrounding primary healthcare facilities. It is also a designated centre for certain specialised services such as cardiac surgery and ophthalmology.

Mahalapye District Hospital is situated in Parwe Kgotla in Mahalapye village in the Central District region. The village lies halfway between Gaborone (in the south) and Francistown (in the north); the major cities of Botswana. The facility became a district hospital in 1960. A new hospital building complex was completed in 2008 and it currently operates as a fully-fledged district hospital with selected secondary services.

These hospitals entered the COHSASA programme in 2009 and they have slowly but consistently worked their way to achieving full accreditation through the implementation of comprehensive quality improvement projects in all areas of hospital operations.

Also handed out at the accreditation ceremonies were the newly-established Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Awards which were given to deserving recipients chosen by their peers at the facilities.

All these facilities were enrolled into a pilot programme with COHSASA and Management Sciences for Health (MSH) in 2009 through the Southern Africa Human Capacity Development Coalition (SAHCD) supported by PEPFAR funding from the US Centre for Disease Control in Botswana.

“Despite a range of serious obstacles, Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness has persevered with the incremental process of quality improvement and the accreditation of these health facilities marks the beginning of a serious change in the systemic strength of health institutions in this country. By identifying common deficiencies across hospitals, the Ministry was able to intervene and, laudably, make necessary changes,” says COHSASA CEO, Jacqui Stewart.

COHSASA embedded the quality improvement and assurance activities by holding training workshops for representatives from the hospitals and the Ministry of Health and Wellness. These workshops focused on standards interpretation and evaluation and quality improvement methodologies. Thereafter there was an ongoing programme of skills development and support to build local capacity. This enabled the Ministry of Health and Wellness to take over the quality improvement activities, with COHSASA being responsible for the accreditation.

A total of 18 hospitals and clinics are now in the COHSASA accreditation programme in Botswana and the Ministry asked COHSASA to develop healthcare quality standards for that country.

Speaking at the accreditation ceremony, the Minister of Health and Wellness of Botswana, the Hon. Dorcas Magkato said, “Enrolment into this programme has helped the facilities to strive to provide patients with high-quality and safe healthcare services.

“The benefits of accreditation processes are multiple and include among others: improved quality and safety of care; explicit, documented processes; effective teamwork; reduced costs; and enhanced organisational cultures. In other words, accreditation is a process that drives the full scope of improvement which necessarily encompasses the structures, processes and outcomes of service delivery. Let me tell you that the award of full accreditation status reflects high individual and organisational performance.”

Staff from Xhosa Clinic in Botswana receive the Katrin Kleijnhans Award for Quality. This award is given to individuals or a unit at a COHSASA-accredited facility who have made an outstanding or significant contribution to the improvement of health at their establishment. Recipients of the award are not chosen by COHSASA but by peers at the facility itself.

Jacqui Stewart hands out the Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Award to Mr. Olebile Ntswaneng from Phuthadikobo Clinic.

COHSASA CEO, Jacqui Stewart, hands the COHSASA accreditation certificate to Mrs Moilwa Bontle, Matron of Phuthadikobo Clinic.

Dancers whirl through the air in a celebratory dance at Scottish Livingstone Hospital, Kweneng East District.

The Katrin Kleijnhans Quality Award was presented by COHSASA CEO, Jacqui Stewart (third from the left) to the Deputy Matron of Mahalapye District Hospital, Lesedi Lekone; Dr Kunal Bose (the hospital superintendent) and pharmacist Mr Dumi Dumani.

The Minister of Health and Wellness of Botswana, Dorcas Makgato, (left) with Dr Kitenge Kalenga, the chair of the Kweneng East District Health Management Team at the accreditation award ceremony at Scottish Livingstone Hospital.