Improving measurement of the quality of reproductive health care in Ghana and South Africa

November 2015

In 2013, Ibis was proud to be selected by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation in its first global Quality Innovation Challenge. In this initiative, the Packard Foundation supports innovative ideas to improve quality in sexual and reproductive health and empower women and girls in new ways. Following a competitive selection process, nine organizations were awarded grants to implement their innovations.

Ibis’s project focuses on understanding and improving measurement of the quality of reproductive health care. The reproductive health field has developed a number of indicators to measure quality of care; however, it is unclear how responsive these indicators are to women’s priorities and needs. Although research suggests that addressing client perspectives on quality of care can improve client satisfaction, increase use of services, and result in better health outcomes, recent literature on client perceptions of reproductive health services, and what constitutes high-quality care, is limited. In addition, this research does not adequately address abortion care or the role of cultural context in client perceptions of quality. Women’s feedback is critical to ensure that client-centered indicators are used to assess quality of services, and to hold service providers and policymakers accountable for providing high-quality care.

To ensure that reproductive health services are evidence-based and responsive to women’s needs, Ibis is collecting in-depth data on Ghanaian and South African women’s perspectives on and experiences with reproductive health care, with a focus on abortion and post-abortion care. In both countries, little has been done to measure and understand the quality of reproductive health care, and the role that quality plays in access to and use of reproductive health and family planning services. The data collected will be used to identify gaps in indicators of quality of reproductive health services, suggest modifications to indicators, identify areas for quality improvement, and develop new indicators that are responsive to women’s perspectives of quality.

Ibis plans to use project findings to inform the development of a larger quantitative survey with women in multiple countries to broadly test the validity of the refined indicators—on the quality of abortion care services, as well as reproductive health care delivery more broadly. Ibis also hopes to expand its qualitative data collection in order to gain a nuanced understanding of quality concerns in a range of settings. The goal is to help enhance the quality of reproductive health care by improving measurement and monitoring of service delivery quality, and ensuring that abortion is included in service assessment and quality improvement.

You can find the profile of Ibis’s project on the Packard Foundation’s website, or you can read more and stay up-to-date with project developments on the Ibis project page.