Belize’s health system is not the best, but the Ministry has committed to improvements and that includes seeing that the system polices itself. This week at the Biltmore Plaza, approximately 60 health workers from the country’s major health centers and outposts will learn about optimizing performance for quality and learning for performance. They’re not difficult concepts, as director of the Planning Unit for the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, explains.
Doctor Ramon Figueroa – Director of the Planning Unit, Ministry of Health
“There’s a lot of different components in defining quality. It’s based also on the establishment of protocols for service delivery. So, for example, if you have protocols on how to provide a service to a chronic patient, or to an HIV patient, those processes are built into the tool and the instrument by defining indicators. So we need to ensure that those things are being done on a very institutional basis, on a formal basis. So we have a whole set on indicators: the availability of equipment, functional; equipment, the availability of protocols, the knowledge on the use of the protocols, the steps in the different protocols. So it’s a whole set of indicators that one needs to evaluate, including for example the satisfaction of the users of the services, which is an important part of quality. How satisfied are the users of the services being provided, and the satisfaction of the provider as well with the services and the environment in which they work, because those are all dimensions of quality that one must evaluate, and one must pay attention to, in order for the service itself to be of good quality.”
Dr. Figueroa goes on to explain how the project will assist hospitals like the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital from avoiding or minimizing embarrassing mistakes like last May’s deaths of 8 premature babies due to a common bacteria’s presence in the intensive care unit.
Doctor Ramon Figueroa
“In the project, what it calls for is having dedicated teams within the facilities, having very specific indicators identified, and for them to meet on a very regular basis, evaluate that performance, evaluate the quality of the services. This project also gets the same teams together on a regular basis, to be able to compare the results. So it’s not a one time evaluation. Also there is that commitment, that they have to meet on a regular basis to compare results. We feel that that in itself provides the motivation and the drive, to ensure that people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
The project is funded by USAID.