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(Amsterdam/Cape Town/Chicago – March 7, 2017) In sub-Saharan Africa, many health care clinics do not have the resources to apply for or achieve accreditation—resources such as a consistent supply of medication or the infrastructure to keep patient records safe and secure. SafeCare provides these clinics an option to improve care for their patients with quality improvement standards they can comply with even under restricted conditions.

SafeCare accreditation standards cover a full range of clinical services and management functions, as well as infrastructural aspects and ancillary services–for example, kitchen, cleaning and laundry services. This enables a holistic view of all the components required for safe and efficient provision of health care services.

The third edition of SafeCare standards has been re-accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua). ISQua, known as the accreditor of accreditors, is a global organization responsible for assessing the standards of organizations that set the benchmarks in health care safety and quality.

SafeCare is a multinational nonprofit foundation and a collaboration of PharmAccess in the Netherlands; Joint Commission International (JCI) in the United States; and the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA) in South Africa. Currently, 1,899 clinics in five sub-Saharan countries, with an average of 2.2 million patient visits each month, are participating in the SafeCare program. Most importantly, 78 percent of clinics that participate in the SafeCare program have shown improvement in SafeCare accreditation on a follow-up visit.

The re-accreditation by ISQua recognizes the quality of the updated standards, which ISQua first approved in 2013. The standards have been revised since then to incorporate knowledge learned from the health care providers implementing them in the field – as well as clarify the scoring methodology.

SafeCare’s standards are the only ISQua-accredited clinical standards tailor-made for resource-restricted settings. The SafeCare standards and certification methodology combines the respective knowledge, expertise, skills, tools and experience of all three member organisations – to issue a graded “Certificate of Improvement” to different categories of health care facilities ranging from nurse-driven health clinics to district hospitals.

“Maintaining ISQua accreditation is integral to the quality of the SafeCare brand,” said Nicole Spieker, Director of Quality at PharmAccess. “It provides validation for patients, health care providers, governments, and donors in the level of care provided at SafeCare certified organizations. These standards have resulted in better quality care for millions of patients across the African continent.”

Paula Wilson, president and CEO, Joint Commission International, said, “All people deserve quality health care, and ISQua’s re-accreditation of the SafeCare standards is a clear recognition of SafeCare’s focus on continuous improvement. Regardless of a health care organization’s resource situation, we want them to meet the standards that can help them improve quality and protect their patients from harm.”

“The SafeCare standards enable clinics in resource poor settings to begin their quality journey with small steps and aspire to ultimately achieving accreditation,” said Jacqui Stewart, CEO, Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa.

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 About SafeCare

Learn more about SafeCare from doctors implementing the standards in their clinics.

About ISQua

ISQua is The International Society for Quality in Health Care. They are a global organisation and whose origins date back to 1985. Their mission is to inspire and drive improvement in the quality and safety of healthcare worldwide through education and knowledge sharing, external evaluation, supporting health systems and connecting people through global networks. Their international Accreditation Programme is responsible for assessing the standards of organizations who set the benchmarks in healthcare safety and quality and we are the only organization that specifically uses health and social care standards.

About PharmAccess

PharmAccess is a dynamic international organization with a digital agenda dedicated to connecting more people to better healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. PharmAccess leverages on the enormous potential of digitalization to revolutionize healthcare in Africa. In addition, it has developed a range of services for healthcare providers, including quality assessments (using the SafeCare methodology), loan application support (through the Medical Credit Fund) and training modules to help healthcare providers improve their business and clinical performance. PharmAccess works closely with leading local and international partners to increase trust throughout the health system, reduce risks, and pave the way for investments. Their specific approach to development has won prestigious international recognitions, including a G20 prize for innovative financing presented by U.S. President Obama and two Financial Times/IFC awards.

About Joint Commission International

Joint Commission International (JCI) was established in 1994 as a division of Joint Commission Resources, Inc. (JCR), a wholly controlled, nonprofit affiliate of The Joint Commission. Through international accreditation and certification, advisory services, publications and education programs, JCI extends The Joint Commission’s mission worldwide by helping improve the quality of patient care. JCI works with international health care organizations, public health agencies, health ministries and others in more than 100 countries. Visit www.jointcommissioninternational.org for more information.

About COHSASA

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, COHSASA is the only accreditation body for healthcare in Africa that is internationally accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) as a competent healthcare evaluation body and its standards are recognised as meeting the principles set out by ISQua. COHSASA has been working in the field of quality improvement and accreditation for over 17 years. During this time, COHSASA has worked in a range of over 580 different types of facilities – from tertiary hospitals to basic clinics – in the public and private sectors in South Africa, the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region and other parts of Africa. Countries in which programs are running are the RSA, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Rwanda and Nigeria.