Supporting the development of a national strategy for improving quality of care in Belarus
With the aim of supporting the development and implementation of a national strategy for improving the quality of health care in Belarus, WHO conducted a 2-day workshop on 17–18 January 2019 in the Brest region of the country. The event was an opportunity to build the capacities of national stakeholders and policy-makers working on quality of care by sharing international evidence and best practices in this area.
The workshop convened more than 80 participants representing various actors and perspectives on quality of care from all regions of Belarus, including policy-makers, senior officials, health facility managers, and practitioners from hospitals and primary health-care centres.
Health authorities’ high level of interest in quality of care in Belarus was reflected in the attendance of the country’s Vice-Minister of Health.
Participants discussed and agreed upon a range of practical steps related to the development and implementation of the national strategy. They learned about WHO approaches to improving quality of care, and reviewed best available evidence, country cases, available resources and an ideal process to develop an enabling policy.
Participants thoroughly considered the national context and features of the health-care system of Belarus while discussing how to apply WHO approaches in the country. They achieved clear consensus on the need for a comprehensive approach to quality improvement that brings together different initiatives to maximize their effect and align them along a continuum of inputs, process, outputs and outcomes.
The workshop established next steps for the development and implementation of the national strategy, as well as a list of appropriate regulatory arrangements needed at the country level to update the current system of quality management and align it with international evidence-based recommendations.
High and equitable health coverage achieved, but quality of care now needs to be addressed
Belarus has achieved relatively high and equitable health coverage with strong financial protection for the general population. However, the country has not yet addressed quality of care as a domain of universal health coverage in a systematic way.
National health authorities recognize this, and have committed to comprehensive action. In 2018, the Ministry of Health requested WHO’s technical assistance with health-care quality improvement at the national level. The workshop is one of the many activities WHO has conducted in response to the Ministry’s request.
Global framework for promoting universal health coverage
The Government of Japan and other donors have provided funds to promote universal health coverage in selected countries. Under this framework, WHO collaborates with the Ministry of Health of Belarus along the following dimensions of assistance:
- reviewing the current status of health-care quality in Belarus to provide a basis for discussing the national health-care quality strategy;
- building the capacity of national stakeholders and policy-makers working on health-care quality to support the development of the national strategy;
- organizing policy dialogues and consensus-building activities among key national stakeholders and policy-makers on the main dimensions of quality-of-care improvement to catalyse the development of the national strategy; and
- facilitating the development and implementation of the national strategy.