SOUTH AFRICA— The Council for Health Services Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA), headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa, has announced the healthcare facilities that have successfully met its rigorous and internationally recognized standards.

As a non-profit organization, COHSASA has been dedicated to ensuring that medical facilities under its umbrella consistently uphold the highest standards of safe and quality care for the past 28 years.

It provides quality improvement programs, accreditation initiatives, and standards development for a diverse range of healthcare facilities and authorities.

Currently, COHSASA proudly encompasses a network of 600 healthcare facilities across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Rwanda, Eswatini, Lesotho, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, and Tanzania.

The updated list of fully accredited facilities released by COHSASA includes various healthcare facilities in South Africa, such as Cure Day Hospital in Belville and Somerset West, Knysna Sedgefield Hospital, Mediclinic Hoogland, Mediclinic Kloof, Mediclinic Paarl, and Breede River Hospital.

Additionally, the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek, Namibia, and Lenmed Bokamoso Private Hospital in Gaborone also received full accreditation from COHSASA.

The Athlone District Hospital in Lobatse and Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in Serowe, both in Botswana received entry-level graded recognition.

Achieving full accreditation from COHSASA signifies that a healthcare facility has successfully completed its demanding quality improvement program and has met the standards recognized by the International Society for Quality in Health Care External Evaluation Association (ISQua EEA).

ISQua EEA, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is the global authority overseeing accreditation and quality improvement programs in healthcare organizations across 70 countries worldwide.

It is worth noting that COHSASA is the only accrediting body for healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa that is recognized and accredited by ISQua EEA.

Initially, COHSASA grants a two-year accreditation to organizations that pass its rigorous review process.

As the journey of quality improvement progresses, longer-duration awards are granted. A four-year accreditation is bestowed upon facilities that consistently maintain an excellent level of standards over a significant period.

All accredited facilities undergo an interim survey halfway through the accreditation period to ensure ongoing adherence to the established standards.

CEO of COHSASA, Jacqui Stewart noted in the press release, “In a post-COVID society, it is reassuring to know that there are organizations that continue to strive to provide the very best care for their patients.”

She also emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted healthcare providers, highlighting the need for resilient health structures that can effectively handle and mitigate the negative effects of health emergencies.

Accreditation is viewed as a crucial method to ensure that healthcare facilities are capable of containing and withstanding such crises.

According to a 2017 report from the WHO-Africa joint session on health systems development toward universal health coverage in the African region, healthcare systems in Africa have long been plagued by various man-made issues.

These issues encompass institutional, human resources, financial, technical, and political aspects. The report proposed a framework that outlines six core components of healthcare systems: service delivery, healthcare workforce, healthcare information systems, medicines and technologies, financing, and leadership/governance.

However, the International Journal of General Medicine, in its 2021 report on identifying key challenges facing healthcare systems in Africa and potential solutions, highlights the difficulty of implementing this framework.

For instance, it cites the case of dilapidated healthcare systems in Nigeria, which have led to a significant number of people seeking medical treatment abroad, resulting in over 5,000 individuals leaving the country each month and an annual expenditure of approximately US$1.2 billion.

The journal also documents other prevalent healthcare system problems in Africa, including financial barriers to healthcare services, high rates of out-of-pocket expenditure, ineffective national health insurance systems, and poor service integration.

As a consequence, these challenges have contributed to shortages of healthcare professionals and the migration of skilled individuals from Africa to Europe, the Middle East, and North America, further exacerbating healthcare outcomes in the region.

However, addressing the challenges faced by healthcare systems in Africa requires a thorough exploration to identify, generate, and implement context-specific solutions that can yield significant improvements in population-level health outcomes while making efficient use of available resources.

Accreditation is designed to help healthcare systems understand these challenges within their specific contexts and develop solutions to these challenges as they crop up.

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