Quality management: where is the evidence? Developing an indicator-based approach in Kenya

Int J Qual Health Care. 2017 Feb 1;29(1):19-25. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzw147.


Introduction: The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda emphasizes the importance of quality of care in the drive to achieve universal health coverage. Despite recent progress, challenges in service delivery, efficiency and resource utilization in the health sector remain.

Objective: The Ministry of Health Department of Standards and Regulations sought to operationalize the Kenya Quality Assurance Model for Health. To this end, the European Practice Assessment (EPA) was adapted to the area of Reproductive and Maternal and Neonatal Health.

Methods: The adaptation process made use of a ten step-modified RAND Corporation/University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Appropriateness Method. The steps included a scoping workshop, definition of five critical domains of quality in the Kenyan context ('People, Management, Clinical Care, Quality & Safety, Interface between inpatients and outpatients care'), a review of policy documents, management and clinical guidelines, grey and scientific literature to identify indicators in use in the Kenyan health system and an expert panel process to rate their feasibility and validity.

Results: The resulting 278 indicators, clustered across the five domains, were broken-down into 29 dimensions and assigned measure specifications. A set of data collection tools were developed to furnish the indicators and piloted at two health facilities. They were subsequently finalized for use in 30 health facilities in 3 counties.

Conclusions: The integrative and indicator-based aspects of the EPA process could be readily adapted to facilitate the operationalization of a practical quality assurance approach in Kenya.

Keywords: developing countries; health services, maternal and child health; quality improvement; quality indicators, health care.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery, Obstetric / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kenya
  • Maternal Health Services / standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / standards
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / standards*