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HGH Neonatal unit signage Somaliland ;

Patient Safety and Infection Prevention Control for Better Healthcare

Kay Davidson

Programme Officer, Somaliland, King's Global Health Partnerships

06 September 2023

In early July, King’s Global Health Partnerships and the Ministry of Health Development in Somaliland brought together Hospital Directors, Physicians, Matrons, Infection Prevention Control Leads, Waste Management Staff and Regional Medical Officers from Somaliland’s six regional hospitals for a five-day training workshop, as part of a programme to improve the quality of care that patients receive across the health system.

The training was delivered by experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), to over 30 health care workers – 65% of whom had never received any quality-of-care training – and focused on two WHO Frameworks, the Patient Safety Friendly Hospital Framework (PSFHF), and the Infection Prevention and Control Framework (IPCF). These frameworks are integral building blocks for good quality care.

The Patient Safety Friendly Hospital Framework (PSFHF)

The PSFHF training aims to give health workers the tools to place patient safety at the centre of care, and address challenges in their facilities by improving leadership in healthcare settings, engaging patients and their families in their care, using data to drive improvements, building a competent and compassionate workforce, and having clear policies and guidelines.

Infection Prevention Control Framework (IPCF)

The WHO IPCF is a tool which helps healthcare workers implement the core components and guidelines of Infection Prevention Control in their facilities. Participating hospitals will then be assessed using the Infection Prevention and Control Assessment Framework (IPCAF), based on the content of the IPC and PSFHF training. These hospital assessments will give baseline data on the areas which facilities need to develop. Over 88% of participants stated that regular hospital assessments and workshops would help them to improve the quality of care in hospitals.

Hargeisa Group Hospital assessment visit July 2023

Somaliland's National Quality Improvement Programme

The training is part of a wider programme of work to help strengthen capacity within hospitals and the Ministry of Health Development (MoHD), to build a culture of quality care. Earlier this year, King’s Global Health Partnership (KGHP) partnered with Qatar Charity and the MoHD to deliver a two-year National Quality Improvement Programme (NQIP) in Somaliland, working in partnership with stakeholders to tackle the root causes of poor-quality care.

In recent decades, healthcare improvement work has focused on improving access to health services. Whilst this has led to improvements in health outcomes globally, poor quality healthcare is still causing millions of unnecessary deaths each year.

Poor quality healthcare in low resource countries like Somaliland takes many different forms, including:

  • frequent, incorrect diagnoses of serious conditions such as pneumonia and newborn asphyxia
  • slow or delayed care, which reduces patients’ chances of survival
  • unclean facilities, leading to infections and potentially fatal complications
  • poor communication with patients.


Somaliland hospital cleaning_infection prevention control

The first phase of the project is to build the foundational knowledge of healthcare workers on the importance of quality and how to implement and measure it within a healthcare setting.

The programme will also strengthen the health workforce by working with universities to integrate a standardised medical education curriculum and develop Somaliland’s first National Quality Strategy Policy with government stakeholders.

Working with people across the health system

A key success of the training was engaging a range of health care workers. Having the support of Hospital Directors and Regional Medical Officers will improve leadership within facilities and help Somaliland move towards the culture of quality care. However, an equally important factor was engaging Matrons and Physicians to build knowledge on PSFHF indicators, such as compassionate care.


Bashir Deria Jama Ministry of Health Development Somaliland

Alongside these Framework trainings, the WHO consultants have been working closely with staff in the MoHD. Delivering training on how to assess hospitals and write WHO reports based on the IPCAF and PSFHF. By building capacity within the MoHD, staff will be able to assess hospitals more regularly and identify areas for improvement and development.

This is the first time that the Ministry of Health has had this opportunity to train people and to get the benefit from the WHO consultants on this quality improvement training. It’s really an opportunity for the Ministry of Health to develop guidelines, policies and procedures and strategies that will have an impact on the quality of care in our health system.– Dr. Bashir Deria Jama, Ministry of Health Development, Somaliland

In the coming months, NQIP will help to identify small quality improvement teams within each of the six hospitals. They will be given the skills to run their own quality improvement (QI) programmes, based on the hospital assessments' findings and receive tailored training, thanks to the help of QI experts from South London and the Maudsley Hospital.

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