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Using Six Sigma to design more effective development projects

Elvira Beracochea, MD, MPH, MIDEGO, 4710 Olley Lane, Fairfax, VA 22032, 703-978-3331, elvira@midego.com, Nohra Villamil, Consultant, Carrera 38 134-35, Bogota, Colombia, and Fernando Vicente, Consultant, Advance Angola Huambo, Cidade Baixa Rua Garcia da Horta 3 andar Lado esquerdo Edifício da Delegação Provincial de Saúde, Huambo, Angola.

Foreign assistance government organizations, development banks and other donors and foundations contract technical and management organizations to provide health development assistance. The goal of development assistance is to deliver improvements in the quality of care provided and in health status of the people living in developing nations. Quality assurance, collaborative learning, total quality management and others are some of the methods that have been used by contracting agencies. These approaches seem to follow a life cycle and tend to be replaced by the next approach, whose comparative effectiveness is sometimes not well-documented. This paper documents a development assistance project which adapted the “Design for Six Sigma” (DFSS) process to restore family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) service delivery in a post-conflict setting in a developing African country.

Six Sigma was used to ensure focus on patient needs and consistent quality of care while developing technically sustainable health service systems. Six Sigma was used because it focuses on customers' needs, and on reducing errors and waste of resources, very important goals to ensure value for every development dollar the donors invests. The paper will describe what Six Sigma is and the design steps using Six Sigma. The paper also presents the results of this 18-month project and make recommendations for project planners, implementers and managers, and public health professionals. Results were measured through quarterly LQAS surveys and a pre and post survey to assess service utilization, access and satisfaction.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Evidence Based Practice, Public Health Administration

Related Web page: www.midego.com

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Health Systems Management: Evidence, Information, and Human Resources

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA