The WHO Country Office and MOH had organized a validation workshop on health facility standards on 7 September 2017 at the Conference Hall of Nyala Hotel in Asmara. The national standard aims to give a shared voice to the expectations of the public, service users, and service providers. The development of these standards started in April 2017, with a rapid assessment done with support of WHO to ascertain the current clinical situation, which included discussing and agreeing with clinical and allied experts and Practitioners. Following the rapid assessment, technical working groups composed of various experts drafted the health facility standards based on WHO expert’s guidance. The draft document was then subjected to a series of consultations with experts drawn from MOH, Hospitals, private health sectors, health professional associations, health regulatory bodies, and health training institutions. In addition, extensive review of both international and local literature was carried out.
During the validation meeting, the Director General of Medical Services, Mr Berhane Gebretinsae officially opened the workshop and said, “Validation of the Eritrean Health Facility Standards and Criteria is one of the many efforts that the Ministry of Health is making to ensure continuous quality improvement in the national health delivery systems.” He mentioned that this was in line with what is expected to be addressed in the national Health Sector Strategic plan 11 (NHSSDP 11). He added that a variety of service providers can use the national standards to improve the quality and safety of care. Mr Berhane thanked WHO for technical and financial assistance.
The WHO Representative to Eritrea, Dr Josephine Namboze in her speech emphasized that the participants should focus on the importance of the standards and the opportunity it offers for assuring quality- people- centered services delivery which is significant for patients as well as health workers. Dr Josephine congratulated Hon. Minister of Health for taking this bold initiative.
The main objective of the workshop was to review, discuss and reach agreement on the comprehensive and applicability of the tenets of the document.
The revised standards and criteria for health facilities builds on the previous standards developed in 2002 and compliment the strategic approaches to address key quality challenges for accelerating the improvement of health care quality nationwide.
The participants were comprised of various health professionals such as nurses, anesthetists, midwifes, doctors, clinicians, obstetricians, directors, supervisors pharmacists and other MOH staff from all the levels of service delivery. The participants discussed the document thoroughly and expressed the usefulness of the national standards. In guaranteeing the delivery of a consistent quality and safe health care to all the people of Eritrea. The participants expressed the need to develop clinical guidelines and protocols to be used in conjunction with the standards and also underscored the importance of putting mechanisms in place to widely disseminate and monitor implementation.