EHS-COVID (252) Quarterly Pulse

1 April, 2021

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March 2021

Blog: Quality and Leaving No One Behind in the UK COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets. As much as this truism applies to healthcare, it is easily dismissed as a forgone conclusion rather than a rallying cry. Decades of entrenched contextual factors make correcting outcome inequalities a long (and worthy) arc of change. But the COVID-19 vaccine programme is brand new. We had perfect equity in November 2020: zero percent of people had received an approved vaccine. Now, the inverse care law is in full effect. To read more about Jack's journey, click here ( .

Jack Lewis MFPH is a Senior Public Health Registrar in the UK. He is the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Inequalities Lead for North East and Yorkshire.

Maintaining quality essential health services during COVID-19 in Eswatini

This learning brief covers experiences and lessons learnt from the Eswatini context throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to date. Many of the issues documented within this learning brief reflect temporary disruption or issues which have subsequently been addressed. However, many of the experiences and lessons remain pertinent to future epidemics or a potential second wave of COVID-19 which may impact the country in the future. This learning brief was constructed through interviews undertaken with key informants in Eswatini. Key lessons from the Eswatini experience during COVID-19 include: 1) stakeholder engagement at all levels (national, district and facility) is vital for a rapid, coordinated, and effective response; 2) community engagement plays an important role in addressing fears and changes in health-seeking behaviors; 3) context-specific guidance, taking account of local challenges and resource constraints, is extremely important to direct appropriate actions at the facility level.

Learn more about Eswatini’s experience in the action brief here ( .

Article Spotlight

* Health Systems Approach to Ensure Quality and Safety Amid COVID-19 Pandemic in Pakistan ( – Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan, January 2021

* Continuous quality improvement as a tool to implement evidence-informed problem solving: experiences from the district and health facility level in Uganda ( – BMC Health Serv Res, January 2021

* Quality in crisis: a systematic review of the quality of health systems in humanitarian settings ( – Conflict and Health, February 2021

* Quality of health care and patient safety in extreme adversity settings in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: a qualitative multicounty assessment ( – East Mediterr Health J., February 2021

* Maternal Health infrastructure and Interpersonal Quality of Care During Childbirth: An Examination of Facility Delivery in Malawi ( – Maternal and Child Health, March 2021

* Addressing the Social Determinants of Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ensuring Equity, Quality and Sustainability ( – Family Community Health, April-Jun 2021

National Quality Policy and Strategy (NQPS)

The NQPS Learning Pod of the GLL has a new look! The revamped Learning Pod enables easy access to key information, tools and resources and available country examples on national quality policy and strategy. Check out the new page ( !

WHO recently published two resources : Quality of Care in FCV settings: Taking action ( and accompanying tools and resources compendium ( . The taking action document and supporting tools and resources build on the technical foundation derived from the WHO NQPS initiative and an emerging academic evidence base, in addition to experiential knowledge from the field and expert consultation. The documents are closely aligned with other resources developed as part of the WHO NQPS initiative, including the Handbook for national quality policy and strategy ( and the National quality policy and strategy tools and resources compendium ( . To read more about WHO’s work on quality of care in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable settings, click here

( .​​​​​​​

Infection prevention and control (IPC) & Water sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

WHO has just published “Understanding barriers to quality of care: An approach for conducting a situational analysis of WASH and quality in health care facilities”. This brand new document describes an approach for conducting a national situational analysis of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), the first of the eight practical steps ( recommended by WHO and UNICEF as a means to trigger action to improve and sustain WASH in health care facilities. The approach has already been used in Serbia ( and three African countries ( (Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda). Download the document here

( .


What is the role of compassionate leadership in driving quality care? The Global Health Compassion Rounds held on March 11 tackled this question by exploring the role and value of compassionate leadership in global health settings. The round aimed to understand the role of compassionate leadership in driving quality of care improvements; learn about modalities of cultivating compassionate leaders and organizations; and glean insights from real-life experiences and challenges in the journey of compassionate leadership. The Rounds were attended by over 300 people from across the world. A recording of the webinar as well as a short report will be available soon. Watch out for the next Global Health Compassion Rounds.

Maternal, Newborn & Child Health

The Network for Improving Quality Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health will launch a new report which documents the progress made over the past four years of activity across the Network. The Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health: Evolution, Implementation and Progress 2017-2020 (WHO, 2021). This report documents the evolution of the Network since its launch in 2017 and progress made to date and provides reflections on successes and shortfalls during implementation of Network activities. The report also shares how quality of care improvement has been catalyzed over the past years with country examples of implementation in Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda. It comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is having a hugely disruptive impact on services for maternal, newborn and child health. The report will be launched during an AlignMNH Concurrent Session on April 20 at EDT.

Patient Safety

The WHO Patient Safety Flagship: A Decade of Patient Safety 2020-2030 held the first webinar of the Global Patient Safety Webinar Series 2021. The webinar focused on the “WHO Patient Safety Incident Reporting and Learning Systems: Technical report and guidance”. The overall objectives of the webinar were 1) understand the benefit and challenges in implementing patient safety incident reporting and learning systems; 2) learn about the WHO technical report and guidance on patient safety incident reporting and learning systems; and 3) consider how to set up patient safety incident reporting and learning systems . A recording of the webinar is available here ( .


* The GLL 2020 Annual Report available now! The report can be found here ( .

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