Botswana's Quality Improvement and Leadership Program: Inside Mahalapye Hospital

Botswana's Quality Improvement and Leadership Program: Inside Mahalapye Hospital

Health workers listen during the Mahalapye Hospital staff meeting, Botswana. {Photo credit: MSH/}Photo credit: MSH/

“J’mappelle Mompati. Comment t’appelles tu?”

Overcoming my confusion at being greeted by a French-speaking man in Botswana, I smile, take his proffered hand and reply in my rusty, stilted French, “J’mappelle Naume...”

Mompati is Mahalapye Hospital’s dynamic public relations officer. Now that he has my full attention, Mompati wastes no time in telling me about his work linking the hospital and the surrounding community through events and the media. We exchange contacts and he hands me a few copies of his newsletter before dashing off to his duties.

Mahalapye is a small town in the Central District of Botswana on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Situated along the main road between the capital, Gaborone, and the second largest city, Francistown, Mahalapye is a convenient stopover place.

The hospital has been recently renovated and serves 300 outpatients a day and up to 200 inpatients.

Almakio, a Building Local Capacity for Delivery of HIV Services in Southern Africa (BLC) colleague, and I arrive at the end of Mahalapye’s fortnightly staff meeting. The hospital superintendent, Dr. Kumal Bose chairs the meeting, where participants address the hospital’s progress towards improving the quality of service and earning the coveted international accredited status.

Dr Kumal Bose, Mahalapye Hospital superintendent (Photo credit: MSH) 


To attain international accreditation, all service elements in a facility should score at least 80 percent.

BLC is working with the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA) and the Botswana Ministry of Health through its Quality Improvement and Leadership Program to support selected hospitals through the accreditation process.

A support team, including Tinah, a Botswana-based BLC employee, and Ellen from the Ministry of Health in Gaborone, help hospitals implement their work plans and identify problems that need to be addressed at the ministry level.

At the last validation in November 2011, Mahalapye Hospital scored an overall 71 percent, indicating advanced levels of compliance. Some financial and structural challenges, such as equipment purchase and building maintenance, still need to be resolved.

"The Quality Improvement and Leadership program has done wonders for us," Dr. Bose said. "Although we are yet to reach the ratings required for accreditation, we have doubled our score from two years ago. Our staff now understands the concept of standards, quality and being held accountable.”

Naume Kupe is communications specialist for MSH’s Building Local Capacity for Delivery of HIV Services in Southern Africa Project in South Africa.