Co-chair Pate: The added value of our Commission

By HQSS Co-chair Muhammad Pate

It was my pleasure to launch the HQSS Commission with Dr. Kruk last month in wintry Boston. Since then, I have had a chance to reflect on the significance of the Commission’s work and its direction. In recent travels, I have listened carefully to policymakers, health professionals and others react positively to the idea of a focused look at quality health systems in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Overall, the impression has become clear to me that our work is relevant and needed to ensure the next phase of global health considers and addressed the issue of quality within health systems.

While the issue of quality improvement at the care delivery level is not new and has been exhaustively tackled, the reality is that most health systems have a huge gap in their focus on quality at higher levels and across the delivery chain.

Quality improvement approaches have largely remained small, episodic, and variable, and have not met the large-scale need for improvement across a health system. Important efforts have been made by various global public and non-public institutions, but these efforts have largely remained in reports within government offices without the ability to orchestrate large scale movements for quality improvement.

It is this realization that reinforces my confidence that our Commission will have significant value addition if it focuses on the assessing, defining, measuring and improving quality within health systems, rather than duplicating existing work focused on quality improvement approaches at the care delivery level. The National Commissions will be important vehicles for leveraging country knowledge to inform the global recommendations and ultimately get traction on this agenda at the levels required to make impact.

I look forward to our work in the coming months.