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MOH Launches Digital Assessment Tool for Private Health Facilities

The tool called Self-Regulatory Quality Improvement System (SQIS) has a checklist of key areas including the cadre of health workers employed, the infrastructure in a certain facility and how often they are serviced, customer care, records keeping in addition to management among others.

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The Ministry of Health has come up with an online system to enable private health facilities across the country periodically conduct self-assessments to determine compliance with quality health service delivery. 

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services says that the system called Self-Regulatory Quality Improvement System (SQIS), has a checklist of key areas including the cadre of health workers employed, the infrastructure in a certain facility and how often they are serviced, customer care, records keeping in addition to management among others.

He said facilities are expected to fill in the assessment tool at least twice each year to check if they are still giving quality services. This he says will be voluntary for the meantime as they roll it countrywide. 

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Dr Katumba Ssentongo, the Registrar of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council (UMDPC) that regulates private hospitals said after filling in the assessment tool, a certificate of compliance is issued which facilities are expected to print out and hang at their receptions to show they went through the process.

He says that this doesn’t mean compliance inspectors will no longer visit to verify if what is in the database reflects what is on the ground. For the council to renew a facility’s license, they will need to have ticked 80 per cent of the checklist. 

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This tool has been in development since 2016 whereby they at first came up with a paper-based checklist which they piloted in Kampala and got feedback which has been used to develop a comprehensive tool which can even be accessed via mobile phone to feed into the database at the ministry. 

Grace Kiwanuka, the Executive Director Uganda Healthcare Federation that the ministry worked with to develop this system says that they will now embark on training providers on how to use the new system.  This data, she says, will be used by both the ministry of health and local governments as there are dashboards that indicate performance from the facility level to the national level. In the pilot phase, over 800 private facilities used the tool. 

Dr Ian Clarke says this tool comes in handy as the ministry has always been struggling with data for private health facilities yet surveys have shown up to 45 per cent of Ugandans seek services in private facilities. However, officials attending the launch called for a similar tool to be used by government health facilities since there too are loopholes in service delivery. 

Responding to this Mwebesa said there’s already an assessment system that helps them keep track of what is happening in the government facilities. 

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