Lagos revises health facility operating standards

The Lagos State Department of Health Agency, Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) has reviewed the basic operating standards of health facilities in the state.

The four-day event, held at the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, according to the Agency’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Abiola Idowu, aims to ensure the better performance of health facilities and to also maximize benefits for Lagosians accessing health care in the state.

In his welcoming remarks, Idowu revealed that the standards would serve as a benchmark against which to measure the services provided by health facilities and as a framework for existing facilities to review and improve their service delivery.

“In order to maintain the safety and quality of patient services and to provide a supportive environment for staff, these standards serve as a benchmark against which healthcare services can be measured and as a framework for existing facilities to review and improve their service delivery,” she says.

She disclosed that the agency was established by the Health Sector Reform Act (HSRL) of 2006 with a mandate to regulate and improve the quality of health care delivery in the state by establishing the minimum standards and by accrediting, inspecting, licensing and registering as well as evaluating the performance of health facilities through monitoring visits and coordinating the collection and dissemination of data on performance indicators.

She explained that stakeholders at the four-day session reviewed and validated draft standards for four categories of healthcare facilities, including medical laboratories, dental facilities, diagnostic and multi-specialty diagnostic centers. Each of the draft standards has several sections, including physical/work environment, work sections, equipment and equipment maintenance, guidelines, infection control and medical waste management, staffing, record keeping and publicity.

She said “the standards are considered achievable for registration and are presented as ideal standards to which all healthcare institutions and practitioners should aspire as part of their professional responsibility to patients and staff, constantly maintaining effective and safe care”.

The Executive Secretary further stated that in addition to meeting the standards outlined above, all private healthcare facilities in the state must possess Certificates of Incorporation issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The responsible operating officer must be a full-time practitioner with at least 5 years of post-qualification experience, he must also have a valid license from the relevant regulatory body.

In her remarks, HEFAMAA Board Chair Dr. Yemisi Solanke-Koya said that the validated standards will be used by the Agency for registration, inspection and monitoring of all state sanitary facilities. Solanke-Koya, who was represented by a member of the board, Mr. Abiodun Hamzat, advised the owners and operators of the facilities to strictly adhere to the standards to ensure the delivery of quality health services to the people.

One of the participants, President of the Association of Radiographers of Nigeria, Lagos State Branch, Mrs. Opeoluwa Oduwole, commended the Agency for having seen fit to involve stakeholders in the exercise of review and validation, noting that the standards would reduce quackery in the system and further strengthen the relationship between the Agency and state health sector professional associations.

The sessions were attended by the project sponsor, the Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH) component of the Global Fund grant from the Lagos State Department of Health; technical partners, Pharm Access Foundation and Health Systems Consult Limited as well as other stakeholders including development partners, professional regulatory bodies and associations.

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