Health workers have been encouraged to up their standards and ensure that the services they provide are of high quality and satisfactory to their clientele. Speaking at a national health quality standards workshop in Maun recently, Director of Health Services, Dr Khumo Seipone, said over the years the health care system has grown immeasurably from strength to strength, with primary health care as its corner stone. She added that until recently, Botswana was rated amongst the best performing developing countries in health outcomes and human development indices.
Dr Seipone said the health quality standards were launched in January this year to serve as a road map for service improvements. She said the standards are very important to the patients as they function in a way that places the patient at the heart of the health care system.
“The public is no longer complaining of non-availability of hospitals or clinics; their concern is now on quality and safety of services. Our customers now complain of issues such as attitudes of some health workers, cleanliness and long queues. This calls for us to improve and make sure we deliver up to their expectations,” she said.
For his part, Kgosi Oleyo Ledimo of Maun said the theme of the meeting, “improving quality and safety of health services,” was very appropriate, particularly in the Ngami area, where health services are moderate and dispersed because of the vastness of the district.
“Some places in Ngami are regarded as hard to reach or inaccessible because of poor roads. But they still need health services,” he said.
He commended the District Health Management Team (DHMT) for a job well done, but reminded them that the community will always judge them based on the quality of their service. For this reason, he said, it is important for health service providers to always be alert and on top of their game. He said the setting of health quality standards will assist the health sector to meet the ever-changing and increasingly complex health needs and expectations of their clients.
“The health standards are an important tool and all stakeholders should start incorporating them in their implementation. While I understand some of the challenges that you face as the health sector, it is imperative that your standards should be exemplary at all levels,” he said.
Ledimo encouraged health workers to go out and seek feedback from their customers, whether positive or negative, as it will enable them to improve where necessary. He reminded them that they should always put their patients and other service users at the forefront and ensure that they are always satisfied. Concerns about quality service are gaining momentum within the health sector.
Just a week ago, the head of DHMT in Ngamiland Dr Christopher Chembe also stressed the need for some health practitioners to be trained on customer service. He added that he had received numerous complaints about the poor service and unprofessional conduct of some health sector employees.
“We promise that we will make regular visits to our clinics to ensure that customer service is of the best quality,” he said.