Ministry of Health seeks to improve quality of health services through 5S KAIZEN approach


The Ministry of Health has embarked on a campaign to improve the quality of health services in health facilities through the implementation of 5S Kaizen approach with support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

5S Kaizen are tools which assist in in improving quality of health service delivery in  different departments.

Speaking in Lilongwe during the opening ceremony of a seminar, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said Kaizen is one of the methodologies for continuous quality improvement that is conducive to the improvement of work processes and systems through evidence-based solving.

She added that the approach is to create conducive physical working environment to improve productivity efficiency and safety.

According to Chiponda, Malawi introduced the 5S- KAIZEN-TQM approach to improve the quality of healthcare services supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Chiponda also noted that four Hospitals, namely Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Mzuzu Central Hospital, Mzimba South District and Malamulo Mission Hospital, were selected as the benchmark Hospitals to become the centres of excellence of the KAIZEN approach in the country. She added that the efforts and achievements of the centres have been acknowledged and their quality of services has been changed by KAIZEN activities.

“So, in our Hospitals we are aware that we have so many challenges, we don’t have enough equipment, we don’t have a lot things that we want to have. But the KAIZEN 5S  tools are teaching our people to use whatever they have to make the environment conducive for them but also to improve the safety of our service provider of our nurses, doctors as well as the safety of our patients and also improving on efficiency because sometimes it’s not about how much you have to improve efficiency,” explained Chiponda.

The main objective of the seminar was to learn from the achievements and challenges experienced at the KAIZEN benchmark hospitals during their activities.

Since 2007, many health care workers and Hospital managers have participated in the 5S-KAIZEN-TQM training, which was organised by JICA and conducted in Malawi, Japan, Tanzania and Egypt, and right now Malawi has many resource persons who are acknowledgeable about 5S-KAIZEN-TQM and lead quality improvement activities in the country.

On his part, JICA Chief Representative Kazuhiro Tambara said the 5S KAIZEN aims at improving quality of health services with little resources available.

“Heath sector is always our main focus of our population in this Country and 5S Kaizen is actually originally from manufacturing sector of Japanese company and it can be applied to any sector to improve the efficiency and effectiveness. So, we are having the initiative to improve the sector.

“5S is sort, set, shine, standardize and sustain. It is an idea to use what we have more efficiently and more wisely to reduce wastage and to make better use of what we have. So, it doesn’t need much investment it needs efforts of the people to make change,” said Tambara.

The 5S and KAIZEN was originally developed in a manufacturing company.  Currently, they are used to improve quality in many sectors, including the health sector.


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