Zimbabwe’s public health institutions can look up for the best if quality assurance tools like Kaizen-5S are in place leading to reformed national basic health indicators, an expert has said.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
5S is the foundation of all improvements and is the key component of establishing a Visual Workplace. Both are a part of Kaizen — a system of continual improvement which is a component of lean manufacturing. A 5 S program focuses on having visual order, organisation, cleanliness and standardisation.
There has been a public outcry over the state of appearance alongside quality of service delivery in local public hospitals in Zimbabwe.
A pilot in-hospital pilot training of Kaizen-5S activities is being bankrolled by JAPAN International Cooperation Agency (JICA) across the country with 11 public hospitals identified. Implementing this tool is in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 100 Day target tasked upon all Ministries including Health and Childcare.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Close In session at the Harare Central Hospital this morning, Kaizen-5S expert Takanori Sasaki said Zimbabwe is faring well in terms of implementing this assurance programme.
“In the case of United Bulawayo Hospitals UBH, at the Opportunistic Infections Clincs used to ve clients waiting from 8am to 4pm. By doing 5S, health records packed nicely in cabinets, right treatments and all, by noon patients had gone home.
“In the afternoon, they identified bottlenecks, looking at processes and solving the problems,” he said.
Giving a testimonial of Kaizen-5S, Gwanda Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Pugie Chimberengwa said the corporate world has begun ploughing into the hospital after seeing a lot improvements.
“As we are implementing this programme, we are seeing Public-Private-Partnerships and Joint Venture Projects coming up. For example, we saw PPC Cement investing $50 000 which we directed towards the renovation of a ward,” he said.
UBH Quality Improvement Officer Dr Jabulani Ncube said 5S in hospitals should be treated as a way of life.
“It’s a gospel that should be preached at all public hospitals. It improves resource management thus preventing wastage, less clutter, as well as reducing infections,” he said.
Dr Ncube also testified that the waiting period for patients is 50 percent down upon initiating the 5S program at UBH.
“The waiting time has been cut by 50 percent,” he said.
A JICA representive said they are keen facilitating for the training of Kaizen-5S among Zimbabweans.
“It is our wish to see more people trained. We are ready to send people to Japan and other countries so that they can be trained to train others as well,” said the representative.
This management tool is cost effective and it can reap an institution benefits such as internal and external stakeholder satisfaction.