ABOVE: Me. Sesi Noge, CEO of the Tokollo/Mafube Complex District Hospital (left) receives the COHSASA accreditation certificate from Dr Ziyanda Vundle, COHSASA Surveyor and Informatics Manager.

The 78-bed Tokollo District Hospital in Heilbron in the Free State has been accredited by COHSASA for a second time. This is an outstanding achievement because in spite of both human and material resource constraints, the facility has been able to reach international standards and maintain them over time.

It is clear from a visit to the hospital and from talking to hospital leaders, staff and patients that Tokollo is a very well-run facility. From entry to exit, it looks more like a private hospital, with beautifully kept grounds, new sections built from revitalisation programme funds and sparkling hospital corridors.

Says Obed Modiko, the District Manager of the Fezile Dabi Health District in which the Tokollo Hospital is situated, “Achievement of this accreditation is good for this hospital, good for the employees, good for the visitors and good for our patients. We want to set this hospital at a very high level and ensure that health care delivered here continues to meet international standards so that patients will receive the care they deserve. We want to set the highest standards here so that other district hospitals – in fact all hospitals in the Free State – will emulate.”

A walk through outpatients, pharmacy areas and the emergency unit show orderly triage systems at work and patients seemingly satisfied with the treatment they are receiving.


ABOVE: A rarity. Patients smiling in the outpatient queue.

CEO for the Tokollo/Mafube District Hospital Complex, Mrs Sesi Noge, said the COHSASA accreditation certificate represented a great achievement in terms of complying with standards. “This will motivate staff to do more and make them realise that when you work this hard, you really do achieve something special. It is important to continue along this quality path and we intend to hold monthly Quality Improvement and clinical governance meetings and regularly initiate and monitor quality improvement projects.”

The Head of Nursing Services for the Complex, Ms Madikonelo Matseliso, said that for accreditation to be a realistic goal, it was important to get hospital staff buy-in. This had been achieved at Tokollo through various means.

“We lead by example and we work as a team. Our quarterly staff indaba promotes ownership and pride of staff members in the quality of their work. We communicate our objectives to staff regularly and hospital board members are visible. We immediately take corrective action when we identify deficiencies and when patients complain. There is respect for subordinates and each other and we welcome constructive criticism from subordinates and colleagues.”

Chief Medical Officer at Tokollo, Dr Mosebi Thejane said, “The idea of standards being met has arrived and we will not go back. With our partnership with COHSASA and the Department of Health’s National Core Standards initiative, we will keep working to ensure our systems improve.”


ABOVE: Satisfied patient Me Maki Ramothesele (left) is attended to by Dr Roger Makani (right) while Nurse Prophet Molaba looks on.

It is clear that despite constraints at Tokollo, staff are dedicated and committed. The hospital is delivering safe and quality care at an affordable price – the intention of the National Health Insurance (NHI) in action.


ABOVE: The joy of achievement. In the front row are leaders at the Tokollo/Mafube District Hospital Complex (from left): Me Madikonelo Matseliso, Head of Nursing Services, Mrs Sesi Noge CEO of the Hospital complex, Dr Mosebi Thejane, Chief Medical Officer and Me Mabone Makhalema, head of Financial and Administrative Services.

Professor Stuart Whittaker, CEO of COHSASA, commented on the Tokollo Hospital achievement. “This hospital demonstrates that accreditation is a driver of quality improvement processes. The structure of the COHSASA standards ensures that all departments and services have a blueprint that assists in achieving quality of service delivery and safe patient care.

“This process links in well with the National Core Standards proposed by the Office of Health Standards Compliance which define high level of risk that can be comprehensively addressed by the departmental focus of COHSASA.”

Staff interviewed at a special meeting for a COHSASA visit said with one voice: “To the Minister of Health in South Africa, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, for whom we have great respect, we are here to help make NHI a reality and prove that standards can be reached and can be maintained. In this way, we can ensure that patients in this country will be able to access affordable and quality health care.”