Reflections from the National Lancet Commission meeting by Dr. Talhiya Yahya

National Commissioners from nine countries met in Johannesburg December 11-13 to share their work with one another and provide feedback on the global Commission Report. In this series, we share reflections from the National Commissioners from the meeting. Guest post by Dr. Talhiya Yahya.

As I joined the national and global commissions meeting I was apprehensive but excited at the first meeting with different commissions from all the countries.

Presentations from the various countries indicated that they had all been busy researching different issues relevant to the health care settings in their countries.

It was very interesting to hear about the different challenges faced across countries and continents, some so familiar and some quite different. One difficulty, which came across time and again, was the problem of devolution of power from the central to the regions/ provinces. Surprisingly this had had quite a different effect from the intended of bringing power and autonomy nearer to the communities. As the discussion became more animated those who were just starting to talk about devolution learnt that they had to take careful steps!

South Africa had a very comprehensive regulatory system as far as quality of health care was concerned with regulatory bodies in place. It was interesting to note the office of health standards and compliance. For some time now Tanzania has been thinking of having a body in place to oversee standards; in our case we were going to call it an accreditation board but I imagine the functions would be very similar. As I shared our experiences on the star rating system of health facilities in Tanzania there was widespread interest at the positive results in improvement of quality of health services measured by the ratings. It was encouraging to get the positive feedback

All in all it was a meeting full of lively discussions, useful exchanges and resolutions as we forge ahead on our mission of improving the quality of health care in our health facilities!

About the Author

Dr. Talhiya Yahya is the Head of the Quality Management Unit and Coordinator of the Star Rating of Health Facilities at the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children in Tanzania.