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THE QUALITY ASSURANCE PROJECT: INTRODUCING QUALITY IMPROVEMENT TO PRIMARY HEALTH CARE IN LESS DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

David D. Nicholas , James R. Heiby , Theresa A. Hatzell
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/intqhc/3.3.147 147-165 First published online: 1 September 1991

Abstract

Persistently excessive morbidity and mortality rates in less developed countries (LDCs) served by primary health care systems suggest that the quality of services is inadequate. The PRICOR project, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, has designed and implemented methods for quality assessment and problem solving in LDC health systems. After developing comprehensive lists of essential activities and tasks, similar to practice parameters, for seven child survival interventions, PRICOR supported comprehensive quality assessment studies in twelve LDC countries. The studies, yielding over 6000 observations of health worker-client encounters, indicated highly prevalent, serious program deficiencies in areas including diagnosis, treatment, patient education and supervision. To facilitate corrective action, PRICOR assisted managers in conducting operations research to resolve priority problems revealed by the assessments. The recently initiated Quality Assurance Project is building on PRICOR techniques in designing and implementing sustainable continuous quality improvement programs for LDC health systems.

  • Primary health care
  • child survival
  • continuous quality improvement
  • quality of care
  • developing countries

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