First experiences of accrediting district hospitals for excellence in newborn care in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Successes and challenges

Lyn Haskins, Dolly Nyasulu, Ruth Davidge, Neil McKerrow, Christiane Horwood


Objective: Providing quality health care is what all health facilities seek to achieve. Accreditation of health services are used to assess and improve the quality of health care in different settings. This study describes experiences of developing and conducting accreditation for excellence in newborn care in district hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa following a 3-year programme of support to all nurseries in KZN.
Methods: A facility review was conducted in district hospitals in KZN to evaluate the quality of care provided to newborn babies to accredit hospitals in newborn care. Multiple tools were used to assess different components of care from different perspectives, including record reviews, assessment of staff skills and interviews with mothers. Awarding accreditation was based on scores achieved in various domains, which contributed to an overall score. Compliance with key priority indicators was required for accreditation to be awarded.
Results: Overall scores for accreditation ranged between 57%-93%. Mothers reported high levels of satisfaction with care received. Record reviews identified shortfalls in care provided, and skills assessments showed poor resuscitation skills in labour wards in some hospitals. Of 39 district hospitals, eight were awarded silver and five were awarded gold accreditation status.
Conclusions: This accreditation of newborn care provides a workable model for undertaking accreditation in district hospitals and can be used by managers to identify and address shortfalls in care. Regular accreditation would support ongoing quality improvement (QI) in neonatal care and such a process could be applied to other aspects of care in health facilities.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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