Pucallpa is on the shore of the Ucayali River, in Peru’s Amazon jungle. Twenty minutes from the center of Pucallpa is the Nuevo Paraíso Health Post, one of five facilities of the Nuevo Paraíso network. Many things have changed there.
Obstetrician Jhonny Matos, quality coordinator of the health post, is from Huánuco and has lived in Pucallpa for seven years, having fallen in love with the green landscape. His restless eyes show his attitude. He won’t conform to the status quo; he wants to improve his healthcare services. Jhonny was trained on performance improvement methodology at workshops organized by USAID’s Quality Healthcare project
and shared the lessons with his colleagues in the area.
In his field work, he applied the first performance measurement to health posts of the Nuevo Paraíso network. He and his colleagues were alarmed by the results. They discovered the critical areas and the gaps between the ideal service and what was being offered, and immediately decided to make changes. Jhonny proudly showed the improvements: “In our first measurement, none of the facilities had running water; now 100 percent have running water 24 hours a day, and the staff are acquiring the habit of always washing their hands.”
In the network’s health posts, the water supply systems have been repaired, rooms have been redistributed, doors have been acquired to give privacy in the consulting rooms, the delivery room infrastructure has been renewed, medical histories have been relocated to facilitate their use, working hours have been extended, and there are now sufficient supplies of soap, paper towels, and alcohol in gel form, which facilitate hand-washing by healthcare staff.
How is it possible to generate such a significant change if budgets have not been increased? Jhonny answers that it is a matter of decision; the measurement helped them establish their priorities and focus on them, thinking of their patients and users.
“…It was a management agreement, the use of money to reduce our gaps was given priority…It is really a matter of undertaking a challenge. We wanted to be a facility with best practices, and we did it, demonstrating that ‘Yes, we can!'” he said.