28 October 2015 Volume :3 Issue :49

UKZN Staff Member Wins Award at Cape Town Summit

UKZN Staff Member Wins Award at Cape Town Summit
Dr Thameshree Naidu.

Project Manager at the Centre for Rural Health, Dr Thameshree Naidu, won the award for the best abstract in Health System Strengthening at the Quality Improvement Summit in Cape Town.

The Public Health Medicine specialist said she was humbled and grateful that her important work was recognised.  Naidu manages the Quality of Care Project which is part of the Rural Academic Excellence Programme funded by Atlantic Philanthropy.

‘My presentation was about the methods we followed in designing a quality improvement strategy to help a rural district meet the compliance requirements for the National Core Standards,’ she said.

Naidu’s study titled: “A Risk Management Approach to Improving Compliance with the National Core Standards in a Rural District in KZN”, aimed to develop a risk management strategy to improve compliance with the National Core Standards.

The project was undertaken at four hospitals in the rural Umzinyathi Health District which is a National Health Insurance pilot district.

The target was hospital management teams comprising the Hospital CEO, the medical and nursing managers, the monitoring and evaluation managers, human resource managers, finance managers, quality managers and the infection and control managers.

‘I briefly touched on the results but shared more on the lessons learned from this work,’ said Naidu.

She said the results showed that all four district hospitals now had functioning risk management committees, a committee structure, clinical governance committees as well as committees that feed into those.

‘Members of the action learning sets experienced growth in their ability to problem solve with the assistance of their peers.  The risk registers have worked well and the development of a dashboard has provided meaningful information for managers. Overall, the hospitals improved their compliance with core standards,’ she said.

Naidu says when working in a rural district, logistics and distances are challenging with problems being competing responsibilities and finding time to sit down in an action learning set. As members saw the benefits and results of the project they became committed to excellence in the workplace.

‘We learned that having support from higher levels and integrating changes into the staff’s key performance areas are key to change,’ said Naidu.

She said the win was unexpected since it was in an area of work poorly understood and which did not get much attention. ‘I am delighted it was seen as scientifically sound,’ said Naidu.

The Quality Improvement Summit, organised parallel to the Hospital Association of South Africa Conference, aimed to share innovations and quality improvement work in the healthcare sector across different programmes, levels and institutions.

Naidu’s research interest is in Health System Strengthening and Improvement Science and she will be submitting an abstract for the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Sweden in April next year.

‘The forum brings together health care leaders and practitioners to support the field of improvement science as a method to improve health outcomes for patients and communities,’ explained Naidu.

She said it promotes practical ideas and innovations that can be implemented as well as research into quality and safety improvement.

 Nombuso Dlamini

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