Quality of health care under the microscope |25 November 2019
Some 60 senior doctors, dentists and allied health professionals from the public and private sector have met with health policy makers for a high level dialogue to assess, analyse in view of identifying gaps and shortcoming to better address them so as to raise the standard of services in health care facilities.
Health Minister Jean-Paul Adam launched the dialogue which was held on Saturday morning at the Eden Bleu hotel.
He noted in his opening remarks that through the dialogue, as health professionals “you will together reflect on your work asking what you can do more to better improve health care quality”.
Minister Adam noted that while we can proudly say that here in Seychelles we have achieved a high level quality of care in relation to other countries in Africa and this has been measured and reported on by different international organisations, we still have to continue to make improvements in different areas.
He went on to point out that through the results of a number of reviews conducted on our health system with the help of our partners such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and others, we have measured where we are and this has also shown an encouraging picture.
“We looked at the issue of patients’ safety at both public and private health centres where there are good practices but there are also gaps which is important for us to acknowledge,” Minister Adam stressed.
He went on to remark that these gaps and barriers are sometimes not as evident as they are in patients’ experiences, new processes that are not accessible to health practitioners for different reasons, among others.
Minister Adam said the dialogue therefore will also provide health professionals a great opportunity to look carefully and explore different areas of risks for patients in order to further reduce them, explore areas where investments can be made namely in research to produce new data which is crucial for better informed decision-making when it comes to treatment and care of patients among numerous other aspects.
Health principal secretary, Dr Bernard Valentin, pointed out that the intention was to bring together the greatest minds in the medical field who have made significant contributions to the health system in Seychelles to discuss the quality of care, where we are today, where we want to go, to discuss quality of improvement possibilities, to agree on a number of key measurable quality indicators based on national and international best practices.
“We also want to agree on key strategic actions needed to start systematically reporting on and measuring quality improvement possibilities by building on current strengths and addressing weaknesses. Ultimately we want to agree on a structure that will lead efforts to improve quality of care in Seychelles. It is not only about the Ministry of Health but also in private institutions,” Dr Valentin pointed out.
Dr Valentin added that it is evident that patients want better quality care.
“As leaders of the health sector, we need to discuss and agree on what priority actions we need to take to genuinely and sustainably improve health care quality everywhere in our country,” he said.
He noted that benchmarking our health services and healthcare quality to countries of the region is no longer sufficient as we are now graded as a high income country so we have to ensure our health care system is on the same level as developed countries but we have a lot of work to do to reach that level and we need to reflect on the way to get there.
He noted that challenges and shortcomings such as preventing amputation in diabetes cases, raising the survival rate in post-cancer treated patients, control infection in hospitals all need to be improved.
He said Seychelles has done and achieved a lot in terms of advancing health services and care for its citizens but a lot more needs to be done to close the gaps in the above-mentioned areas and others.
Asked why such a dialogue only a few months after the major primary health care conference in July which brought together a wide range of stakeholders, Dr Valentin said the July conference focused on and explored primary health care but this one is focusing on what to do to improve healthcare in hospitals and health centres.
Among the first outcomes of improvement that patients will experience, Dr Valentin said, will be the setting up of a good appointment system as well as an electronic record system, hopefully early next year.