There is a shortage of institutions and standards that can ensure objective measurement and rating of the level of quality of basic health care facilities in Africa. As a result, quality levels of providers are not transparent, benchmarking is not possible and patients face uncertainty with regard to the quality of health care they seek. Building institutions and creating standards that help patients to make informed decisions about health care will address these issues. In addition, such systemic changes could stimulate providers to improve the quality of care through targeted interventions, motivate performance-based financing mechanisms by (inter-)national donors and investors, and enable local and national healthcare authorities to monitor and regulate providers.
In 2010 the PharmAccess Foundation of the Netherlands, the Joint Commission International (JCI) of the U.S.A and the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA) held talks in Amsterdam to address the possibility of applying universal quality standards for clinics in developing countries. The discussion focused on creating standards that would provide a solid, secure and realistic framework to ensure that patients receive safe and optimal care despite resource constraints.
SafeCare is the resulting brainchild of these founder organizations and is built on their worldwide experience. It acts as the custodian of internationally recognized sets of standards covering the spectrum of basic healthcare for defined categories of providers, including: general practitioners, nurse- or clinical officer-driven health posts, mobile and semi-mobile facilities, primary care facilities, community health centers, primary health centers and district hospitals. SafeCare is in the process of being established as an independent not-for-profit foundation that will own the SafeCare brand and intellectual property. It is the intention that SafeCare in the years to come evolves into an international network that extends beyond the three founding partners and encompasses NGO’s, government representatives and independent medical associations. SafeCare’s secretariat is based in Amsterdam.
SafeCare has been established to:
- Support basic healthcare providers in resource-restricted settings to go through step-wise structured improvement programs to deliver safe and quality-secured care to their patients.
- Introduce standards that enable healthcare facilities in resource-restricted settings to measure and improve the quality, safety and efficiency of their services and allow for rating and benchmarking of providers across the health system.
- Help build the capacity within existing (national) programs to implement and measure healthcare quality improvement that eventually can lead to independent accreditation.