Our Work

Our in-country initiatives in Africa, such as the Ethiopian Health Care Quality Initiative, are designed to address the “burning platform” as defined by the Ministry of Health and the organization that invites us into a partnership. To ensure the sustainability of changes, and to best address the local needs and context of the work, we always partner with local organizations. IHI works with local partners and governments to build their capability to use and teach quality improvement methods from the outset — thus ensuring the sustainability of the methodology.

IHI is also engaged in harvesting and disseminating new ideas and the spread of best practices, both within Africa and to other parts of the world, seeking to influence health policy and the practice of global health. One method of spread we are testing is the use of dynamic learning networks to spread knowledge we acquire from in-country programming while at the same time learning from others.

Highlights of IHI’s Current Work in Africa

Africa Hospital Patient Safety Initiative

IHI is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministries of Health to test and implement interventions for transforming patient safety practices in 10 African hospitals across Ethiopia, Ghana, and South Africa. Based on the launch of the third Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm, this two-year groundbreaking initiative aims to:

  • Improve the quality and safety in hospitals by improving the practices, culture, leadership, and measurement systems; and
  • Assist with achieving the WHO global aim of reducing severe avoidable medication-related harm by 25 percent in two years through improved safety knowledge and reliable care processes in hospitals.


Ethiopia Health Care Quality Initiative

IHI is partnering with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, on a multi-year initiative that began in 2013 aimed at creating a culture of quality throughout the Ethiopian health system and demonstrating the impact of a quality improvement approach to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. IHI is supporting the FMoH agenda to develop an integrated, ministerial-level strategy to accelerate the pace of improvement of maternal and newborn health outcomes over five years. The current initiative activities (August 2015 – December 2019) support the Ethiopia FMoH in achieving the following health goals:

  • Develop a unified Ethiopian National Health Care Quality Strategy that is aligned with the Health Sector Transformation Plan (HSTP) and builds on the existing quality and equity initiatives in the country;
  • Launch and test a scalable model of health system improvement in health facilities and communities linked by learning collaboratives; and 
  • Strengthen and develop a sustainable Ethiopian health care quality culture and capability across the health system.


Ghana Sustainability Project

With the success of Project Fives Alive! in reducing mortality in children under five, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continues to support IHI’s work to further these achievements by institutionalizing QI in Ghana’s national health care system. Within the past four years, the team has published the Ghana National Healthcare Quality Strategy, launched a mobile app for QI tools, introduced basic concepts in improvement science, and assisted in the establishment of the Quality Management Unit within the Ministry of Health to lead to the sustainability of QI as a priority to national action. In addition, a High-Impact Leadership Course for leaders in public and private health systems provided training on QI and on planning for sustainable implementation of the National Quality Strategy. IHI also continues to support an independent non-governmental organization, the Ubora Institute, to become a leading innovator in QI.


South Africa Tuberculosis QI Programme

Since May 2017, IHI has partnered with the South Africa National Department of Health to support the implementation of the South Africa Tuberculosis QI (SATBQI) Programme. Through support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this initiative aims to use QI methods to close gaps in the TB Care Cascade. A central component of the National TB Plan, the SATBQI Programme is designed to use QI to contribute to the achievement of a 50% reduction in TB deaths and a 30% reduction in TB incidence by 2022. Extensive capacity in QI methods is being built among hundreds of frontline workers, district managers, and national leadership in their work to close gaps in the TB Care Cascade.


Completed Projects and Initiatives

Learn more about completed IHI projects in Africa