• Journal Article

The challenge of measuring quality of care at health centre level in Africa: the example of Tsholotsho health district in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe

Citation

Van, E. L., Van, L., Blaise, P., Woelk, G., & Criel, B. (2007). The challenge of measuring quality of care at health centre level in Africa: the example of Tsholotsho health district in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe. International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 22(1), 63-89.

Abstract

This study is on the evaluation of quality of health care within first line health services in rural Zimbabwe. It took place between 2001 and 2002, and consisted of a cross-sectional survey designed to compare the quality of health care on offer at a newly created health centre with that provided by the district hospital's outpatient department. The hypothesis to be tested was that the health centre offered better quality of care. A comprehensive quality of care evaluation framework was designed. The concept of patient enablement was incorporated into the study's assessment of health care delivery outcomes. The results did not provide conclusive evidence that the care offered at the health centre was better than the care on offer at the hospital OPD. The reasons for these unexpected findings are discussed in depth. They are related to the limited understanding amongst local health workers of the organisational changes introduced by the District Health Executive (DHE), together with a (European) cultural bias in the quality of care model under test. An important lesson of this study is that the notion of enablement, notwithstanding the need to put into context the tools used to measure it, was considered by the DHE as relevant in the organisation and evaluation of health care