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Filipino Delegation Studies Leading-Edge QA Initiatives

A delegation of nine senior Ministry of Health officials from the Philippines learned about the Quality Assurance Projects (QAP) state-of-the-art activities, programs, and educational resources to strengthen healthcare in developing nations during a visit on January 22nd. On a U.S. study tour, the delegation of doctors, professors, and senior administrators sought to improve the quality of healthcare in the Philippines.

David Nicholas, Director of the Quality Assurance Project, discussed the elements of quality design -- including developing and adapting standards at national and local levels, redesigning systems to follow evidence-based guidelines, self-assessments, and external evaluations of services.

Jolee Reinkee and Diana Silimperi

Jolee Reinke, Training Manager, highlighted QAP's work with the Quality of Health Care Network in Uganda, supported by USAID and Makerere University. In addition to developing short courses in quality improvement, QAP helped develop the Universitys first graduate diploma course, which will enroll its first student in March. This one-year course in Quality of Health Care, which includes residency in Kampala with fieldwork in the students country, will help students learn how to apply quality assurance methods to health services.

Diana Silimperi, Deputy Director, discussed QAP's work helping healthcare service organizations with quality improvement accreditation standards in South Africa. With the Council on Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA), QAP seeks to enable the provision of equitable, cost-effective care by empowering healthcare facilities through team-building and in applying continuous quality improvement methods and standards.

QAP is working with the National Adolescent-Friendly Clinic Initiative in South Africa to improve healthcare for teenagers. Research indicates 44% of the population in South Africa is less than 20 years old and teen pregnancy accounts for one-third of all births. Healthcare teams, Silimperi said, did not know how to deal effectively with adolescents and their unique needs -- such as for friendly treatment, privacy, and individualized care. QAPs accreditation program goals seek to improve adolescent healthcare services at the primary level, develop guiding principles, and strengthen the public sectors ability to respond to adolescent healthcare.

Thada Bornstein

Highlighting QAP's training activities, Thada Bornstein, Deputy Training Director, noted that QAP's instructional philosophy includes identifying the desired performance, assessing the gaps in knowledge and skills required to achieve the performance, incorporating results from operations research and lessons from the field, and tailoring training to local settings. Core courses include such topics as quality design, quality monitoring of primary health care, quality improvement, and coaching and team building. Within the core courses, interactive training methods include small group exercises, case studies, role playing, and discussion.

"Training the local trainers in QA allows the host country to strengthen their capacity to institutionalize quality," she said.

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The Quality Assurance Project (QAP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) under Contract Number GPH-C-00-02-00004-00.