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.