Good quality of care at all service points
Quality of care (QoC) is central to providing health services that respect, protect and fulfil our most basic human right to the highest attainable standard of health. Care should be based on relationships between providers and clients, and services delivered in line with the needs, values and preferences of the clients, and with compassion and empathy.
Over the past three decades, significant progress has been made in improving quality of care in service delivery in the sexual and reproductive health sector. The direct relationship between quality and the use of services is well recognized. Quality assessment initiatives encourage providers to improve quality, thereby increasing the acceptance and sustainability of services within communities.
Evidence suggests that achieving quality standards improves effectiveness and utilization of health information and services. As such, improved quality of care plays a key factor in the increased use of services (WHO, 2014).
Some of the major challenges in the provision of health services during this period and even today, especially in developing countries have been:
- expanding the number of health service providers – governmental, private sector and non-governmental
- increasing access to health services through the introduction of different modes of service provision such as static clinics, mobile and outreach services
- introducing affordable health services, especially for the poor, marginalized and vulnerable in the private sector, thus increasing the choice of the population in procuring health services
- increasing awareness of the population on their health needs and their rights, thereby leading to demand of good quality health services
- increasing accountability of the providers to ensure provision of good quality health care
- increasing competition among service providers for donor funding, especially in the non-profit sector
- ensuring the long-term sustainability of NGO services that are dependent on donor funds.
In order to address these challenges and be able to provide quality health services, any organization needs to have a quality assessment system (a conceptual framework, procedures and tools) to ensure that the services provided are of high quality and that any necessary improvements are made.