Health CS sets out strategies to improve quality of health care and patient safety

NAIROBI Kenya, September 17, 2019 – The Ministry of Health will co-ordinate and support existing patient safety work to promote upscaling and sustainability of fundamental patient safety requirements through a comprehensive Safety and Quality Policy at all levels of Government.


“As we fully roll out Universal Health Coverage, patient safety and quality concepts are now being considered across all new policy development processes,” said Sicily Kariuki, the Cabinet Secretary for Health in a speech read by the Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr. Rashid Aman during the commemoration of the World Patient Safety Day at Kenyatta National Hospital today.


The CS noted that all health regulators are working together to improve patient safety using the gazetted Joint Health Inspections Checklist and to further strengthen the regulatory capacity the ministry has embarked on categorization exercise and out of 11,599 health care facilities, a total number of 4417 facilities have been inspected and categorized.

By August 7th 2019, 3423 facilities had their status verified and of these 64 were upgraded, 334 downgraded and 800 closed for noncompliance.

“This collaborative effort will ensure minimum safety standards are upheld across all health care facilities to support best practice for enhancing patient safety,’ she said.

Estimates show that 1 in 10 patients develop a healthcare acquired infection in the course of care. Patient harm is estimated to be the 14th leading cause of the global disease burden, resulting in 134 million adverse events each year in hospitals in LMICs and contributing to 2.6 million deaths annually due to unsafe care.

“Given this, it is the responsibility of everyone working in health service – clinicians, managers, and support staff – to ensure that they take into account patient safety aspects of their role. Services need to be designed and delivered in such a way as to minimize the risk of patient safety incidents occurring,’ she said.

The CS said there is need to ensure that the care experienced by patients is of high quality and effective, as well as safe. “I therefore welcome the global, regional and national focus on patients and the public, who are the reason why we all get up to work each day,” she noted.

Some estimates indicate that medication errors in addition cost an estimated 42 billion USD annually.

Through the Kenya Health Policy 2014-2030, the Ministry is developing a Quality Management Policy to act as a guide for quality management implementation and coordination. It is also establishing a national accreditation framework for the sector through a recognized legal body to accredit health provider institutions to comply with standards of health care.

A mechanism for a regular review of standards of care will also be established to ensure that clients/patients have positive experiences during utilization of health and related services. Establishment of a National Program on Infection Prevention and Control and Antimicrobial Resistance will also limit the acquisition and transmission of infections in the course of receiving health care.

The CS also hinted that plans are underway to establish a National Referral Hospitals Transitional Regulatory Authority, an autonomous public-owned entity, which will oversee the operations and development of National Referral hospitals to be able to offer efficient, effective and high-quality tertiary health services; a Kenya Health Professions Oversight Authority (KHPOA) to promote and regulate inter-professional liaison between statutory regulatory bodies and a National Safety and Quality Policy and Healthcare Accreditation framework to support  patient safety.