Some 14 winners were honoured for their outstanding contributions to quality healthcare in the third edition of the Quality Healthcare Kenya Awards (QHKA).
The QHKA is the brainchild of Zawadi Brand Solutions (ZBS Ltd) and works with the Ministry of Health and Amref Health Africa to improve the standards of health services by recognising outstanding performance and promoting a culture of continuous quality improvement.
They also advocate strong partnerships between health service providers and users, foster innovation and the use of information technology and share best practices, said Ms Grace Ndegwa, a global health leader and the brains behind the initiative.
Kenya’s Prof Miriam Were, nominated recently for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, bagged the lifetime achievement award, while Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), a grassroots movement based in Nairobi, scooped the award for improving access to health.
Other winners included Jacaranda Health, which won the advancing maternal health category and Port Reitz Sub-County Hospital for the health facility innovation project of the year award.
NCDs 365, a project by two Kenyatta University students, won the student innovation project of the year award, while the award for the use of information technology to improve patient healthcare went to Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital.
For the best use of social media in healthcare, the award went to Chiromo Hospital Group. MedSource won the improving access to essential medicines and vaccines award, as Equity Bank’s James Mwangi bagged the healthcare leadership award.
Tharaka Nithi County had the best managed healthcare, while the award for excellence in response to Covid-19 went to SHOFCO and Mama Lucy Hospital was named the public hospital of choice.
The event was held last Thursday.
Ruai Family Hospital was honoured as the private hospital of choice, with St Theresa Hospital Kiirua being named the best faith-based hospital of choice.
In her remarks, Ms Ndegwa reminded participants that quality healthcare is a basic right enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution but poor-quality healthcare is prevalent in public and private hospitals.
“Quality healthcare is an issue of social justice and human rights. Failing to deliver healthcare services that improve the desired health outcomes for individuals and populations at large inhibits progress towards a more equitable and just society,” she said.
Citing the Lancet Global Health Commission on High Quality Health Systems, she said “high-quality health systems could save over eight million lives each year in middle- and low-income countries”.
She added: “Quality health services must be designed to meet the needs of the consumers and should be responsive to their expectations.”
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, in an official speech read on his behalf by his representative Dr Simon Kibias, reminded participants that the event coincided with World Health Day.
“These awards continue on our journey of changing the narrative and showcasing the impact of the positive contributions in the Kenyan health sector by human resources for health scalability and sustainability,” he said.
“Every person has the right to the highest attainable standards of health, which includes the right to healthcare services, including reproductive health.”
He cited data from the World Health Organization (WHO) that shows between 5.7 million and 8.4 million deaths are attributed to poor-quality healthcare annually in low- and middle-income countries.
He urged providers and other entities to work together to guarantee healthier lives and ensure that every Kenyan has access to affordable and quality healthcare, including preventive, curative and rehabilitative services no matter who they are or where they come from.
“Quality is a critical dimension of social justice and human rights principles and one of the essential pillars of universal health coverage,” he said.