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Open Access Research article

Inputs to quality: supervision, management, and community involvement in health facilities in Egypt in 2004

Emily J Cherlin1, Adel A Allam2, Erika L Linnander1, Rex Wong1, Essam El-Toukhy3, Heather Sipsma1, Harlan M Krumholz1456, Leslie A Curry14 and Elizabeth H Bradley14*

Author Affiliations

1 Section of Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA

2 Al Azhar University and National Bank of Egypt, Cairo, Egypt

3 Ministry of Health and Population, Egypt

4 Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

5 Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

6 Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale New-Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

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BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:282  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-282

Published: 20 October 2011

Abstract

Background

As low- and middle-income countries experience economic development, ensuring quality of health care delivery is a central component of health reform. Nevertheless, health reforms in low- and middle-income countries have focused more on access to services rather than the quality of these services, and reporting on quality has been limited. In the present study, we sought to examine the prevalence and regional variation in key management practices in Egyptian health facilities within three domains: supervision of the facility from the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP), managerial processes, and patient and community involvement in care.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from 559 facilities surveyed with the Egyptian Service Provision Assessment (ESPA) survey in 2004, the most recent such survey in Egypt. We registered on the Measure Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) website http://legacy.measuredhs.com/login.cfm webcite to gain access to the survey data. From the ESPA sampled 559 MOHP facilities, we excluded a total of 79 facilities because they did not offer facility-based 24-hour care or have at least one physician working in the facility, resulting in a final sample of 480 facilities. The final sample included 76 general service hospitals, 307 rural health units, and 97 maternal and child health and urban health units (MCH/urban units). We used standard frequency analyses to describe facility characteristics and tested the statistical significance of regional differences using chi-square statistics.

Results

Nearly all facilities reported having external supervision within the 6 months preceding the interview. In contrast, key facility-level managerial processes, such as having routine and documented management meetings and applying quality assurance approaches, were uncommon. Involvement of communities and patients was also reported in a minority of facilities. Hospitals and health units located in Urban Egypt compared with more rural parts of Egypt were significantly more likely to have management committees that met at least monthly, to keep official records of the meetings, and to have an approach for reviewing quality assurance activities.

Conclusions

Although the data precede the recent reform efforts of the MOHP, they provide a baseline against which future progress can be measured. Targeted efforts to improve facility-level management are critical to supporting quality improvement initiatives directed at improving the quality of health care throughout the country.