URC Co-hosts First ISQua African Regional Meeting

URC, in collaboration with the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), is co-hosting the first ISQua African Regional Meeting in Accra, Ghana, on February 4-5, 2013. With the theme, “How to make patient care more effective and efficient: Strengthening health systems through quality improvement,” the event aims to engage sub-Saharan African health care practitioners in an active dialogue on how to successfully advance improvement efforts on the continent.

ISQua’s decision to convene a two-day meeting in Africa stems from the organization’s overall initiative in 2010 to increase its engagement with low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). ISQua paired with URC to design a conference addressing improvement issues specific to LMICs in Africa. Although tremendous improvements have been made in the field of health care, many LMICs—particularly in sub-Saharan Africa—are not on track to achieve their United Nations Millennium Development Goals. HIV/AIDS continues to devastate the region, which comprises 11% of the world's population but 60% of the people with HIV/AIDS. Of the 20 countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios worldwide, 19 are located in Africa; the region also faces the highest newborn death rate in the world.

Given Ghana’s notable success in implementing quality improvement (QI) in recent years, Accra was designated as the site of the meeting, whose first day will feature presentations from Ghana and highlight representatives of the Ghana Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service.

URC and ISQua designed an interactive meeting format to fully engage all participants in discussions on four sub-themes: 1) improving access to quality health care, 2) improving care at the patient level, 3) mechanisms to spread learning and innovation, and 4) the role of government and policies. All 100 delegates attending were accepted to present abstracts in the form of poster displays or panel presentations. Interactive sessions include a debate, a knowledge café, and various other roundtable-like activities.

URC has a considerable presence in the meeting, with participation from:


  • Dr. M. Rashad Massoud, Director of USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) and USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project, will serve as one of the opening keynote speakers, addressing, “What Is ‘Quality’ Health Care?” He will also provide the “Welcome and Conference Overview,” lead the plenary session on “Options for Large-scale Spread of High Impact Interventions,” and co-chair the “Open Agenda” session.
  • Dr. Maina Boucar, ASSIST West Africa Regional Director, is providing the second keynote addressing, “The Science of Improvement: How Do We Improve Care?”


  • Ms. Dorcas Amolo, ASSIST Country Director, Kenya, will present her abstract, “The Role of Government and Policy in Mainstreaming QI in OVC Programs in Kenya” during the plenary session titled, “Best Practices - The Roles of Government and Policy: Should Government Play a Role in Improving Care?”
  • Ms. Elizabeth Hizza, Quality Improvement Advisor from Tanzania, will present her abstract, “Improving PMTCT [prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV] Service Uptake across the Continuum and Spread of Best Practices,” during the plenary session on “Access to Quality Health Care.”
  • Ms. Nana Mensah-Abrampah, ASSIST QI Fellow, will lead a knowledge café on Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) recommendations. Various staff will facilitate small group discussions as part of the café.
  • Dr. Nigel Livesley will provide the opening statement on Day 2 and facilitate the Post-Card Activity, “Memo to Myself.”
  • Ms. Roselyn Were, ASSIST QI Advisor in Kenya, will present her abstract, “To Facilitate Improvement of Vitamin A Supplement Uptake in Njiru District, Nairobi, Kenya,” during the plenary session on “Access to Quality Health Care.”
  • Mr. Samson Haumba, ASSIST Country Director, Swaziland, will present his abstract, “Utilization of QI Approaches to Improve TB/HIV Treatment Outcomes in Swaziland,” during the plenary on “Options for Large-scale Spread of High-impact Interventions.”


  • Ms. Cordelia Mboijana Katureebe, SUSTAIN Uganda HIV/AIDS Technical Advisor, will present her poster, “Improving Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation for HIV-Infected Children below Two Years of Age in Ugandan Public Hospitals” during the poster display session on care at the patient level.
  • Mr. Jean Nguessan, Chief of Party, Cote d’Ivoire, will present two posters: “Implementation of a Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation in Cote d’Ivoire: Lesson Learned and Way Forward” during the poster display session on spreading learning and innovation and “Improving the Quality of HIV Care in Facilities in Côte d’Ivoire: Comparing Sites That Did and Did Not Participate in Collaborative Improvement” during the poster display session on the role of government.
  • Dr. Joseph Kundy, QI Advisor from Tanzania, will present his abstract, “Leveraging Patient Self-management to Address Chronic Care among PLHIV in Tanzania,” during the poster display session on care at the patient level.
  • Mr. MacDonald Kiwia, Quality Improvement Advisor in Tanzania, will present his abstract, “Improve Health Care Workers’ Productivity and Engagement by Addressing Facility-level Human Resource Dynamics for Efficiency and Quality HIV Services,” during the poster display session on spreading learning and innovation.
  • Dr. Subiri Obwogo, ASSIST Senior QI Advisor in Kenya, will present on the “Partnership Model for Incorporating QI into National Systems,” during the poster display session on spreading learning and innovation.

Mr. Stephen Okiror, who is not on the URC staff but won the 2011 HCI Project “Best Improvement Report” contest, will present on “Improving Patient Safety during ‘Safe’ Medical Male Circumcision by Use of a Locally Designed Checklist in Bukedea Health Centre IV in Eastern Uganda” during the poster display session on the role of government. ASSIST supported him in attending the meeting.

Organizations involved in planning the conference include World Health Organization, The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa, the Ghana Ministry of Health, and the Ghana Health Service.


February 04, 2013