• COHSASA is one of only 25 healthcare accrediting bodies in the world that holds a current IAP (International Accreditation Programme) award from the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) as a competent health accrediting body.
  • This is its third successive accreditation from ISQua with the current award valid until November 2014. The award confers credibility through formal worldwide recognition that COHSASA meets agreed international standards; specifically developed and tested for healthcare external evaluation bodies.
  • International links and collaboration create a network-based legitimacy and expert partnerships.
  • Four sets of COHSASA standards are accredited by ISQua until 2014.
  • COHSASA's Surveyor Training Programme has been accredited by ISQua from 2012-2016 which means that surveyors trained by COHSASA meet international standards set by this global body.


  • COHSASA is a not-for-profit professional NGO – as opposed to an activist or advocacy organisation.
  • It is an impartial, independent, non-political body.
  • It has neither shareholders nor executive directors.
  • It seeks to ensure that all patients have access to equitable, quality health care.


  • COHSASA has 18 years of experience in over 600 facilities in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Rwanda, Swaziland, Lesotho, Nigeria and Tanzania.
  • The Council has a proven track record in both public and private healthcare facilities.
  • COHSASA has been the quality improvement and accreditation service provider of choice to MediClinic in South Africa and MediClinic has extended its contract into the future.
  • It has developed quality improvement and accreditation programmes for a variety of facilities including hospitals, clinics, hospices, sub-acute care, emergency services and general and family practitioners.
  • In addition to accreditation programmes, COHSASA offers training in quality improvement methodology, monitoring and evaluation and adverse event management, monitoring and reporting systems and research capacity to measure impact.
  • To ensure that hospitals sustain their standards after being accredited, COHSASA offers a standards maintenance programme. This requires hospitals to undergo a mini-survey of key and high-risk areas at designated intervals.
  • COHSASA consistently monitors and evaluates its own internal performance to improve its service to clients. 


  • COHSASA has developed the COHSASA Quality Information System (CoQIS), a web-based information system that enables licensed users, via a secure login, to view and query data and access objective information about levels of compliance with professional standards, including progress reports on healthcare facilities in the quality improvement programme.
  • Ongoing access to current data enables management at all levels – at facility, provincial and national levels as well as in corporate HQ – to make informed decisions, to respond to triggers demanding immediate action and, in this way, to bring about continuous quality improvements through the ongoing monitoring of performance indicators.
  • CoQIS includes abilities to navigate between surveys and to review data and to monitor the progress of individual and/or a selection of healthcare facilities in the programme.
  • CoQIS generates queries that interrogate data – this provides comprehensive details of the status quo of managerial, administrative and clinical systems within a single hospital, across a group of hospitals or all hospitals within a region.
  • The web-based system is a secure on-line data warehouse and can become a valuable repository of the chronological and historical progress of facilities in the client organisation as they move towards compliance with standards.
  • Endemic weaknesses within a facility or across a region can be identified and acted upon.
  • Client organisations are able to use the CoQIS system to make informed decisions about the allocation of finances to address deficiencies according to COHSASA's standards which are a blueprint of how to provide safe and quality care.
  • Client organisations that use CoQIS as part of the self-evaluation QI programme are able to maintain their quality programme at the highest level over time, thus avoiding excessive workloads to prepare for external surveys.


  • The Council's standards have been based on principles that reflect the collective expertise of over 41 countries.
  • ISQua has consistently accredited COHSASA's standards over the past decade and those currently accredited until 2014 are: Standards for Hospitals, Standards for Hospice and Palliative Care, primary Health Care Standards and Emergency Medical Service Standards. The Surveyor training programme has been accredited by ISQua as well.
  • Representative professional bodies such as the Society of Surgeons, the Society of Anesthesiologists, the Democratic Nursing Association of South Africa, the Infection Control Society of South Africa and many others have helped to develop and refine COHSASA's standards over the past years.


  • The programme is designed to empower staff through their own efforts.
  • COHSASA pays particular attention to improving institutional capacity – particularly management capacity.
  • Managers are trained how to manage their facilities better by making practical use of the information generated in the programme by CoQIS.
  • Managers are given quality improvement projects to complete based on actual deficiencies identified within the hospitals i.e. there are not only didactic lectures, but the development of practical skills to carry out quality improvement projects


The International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua): "COHSASA is a well-governed and managed organisation which is identifying innovative ways of developing an accreditation programme suitable to health facilities in Southern Africa. It is a young, dynamic, resourceful and rapidly developing organisation which is starting to have a significant impact on the quality of healthcare facilities and services in South Africa." (2002)
"The commitment to quality and willingness to be assessed by international peers is to be commended and makes COHSASA a world leader in the accreditation field." (2006)

Mr George Harris: Panorama Medi-Clinic in the Western Cape "The accreditation process provided us with a strong focus in terms of operational issues and helped with strategic planning and quality control. By following the systems put in place through accreditation it made us more efficient. Going through the accreditation process gets easier and easier. We have passed this high standard and therefore patient safety is of a higher standard at our hospital as opposed to a hospital that is not accredited. We would definitely do it again."

Ms Kathy Wiebe-Randeree, Hospital Manager of the Klerksdorp-Thsepong Complex in the North-West Province: "The programme left the institution in a better place than when we started. It has brought a great deal of team-work to the organisation and assisted top management in that staff at middle management levels understood their role and took responsibility and accountability for their actions. "Because we had been accredited before, we have been able to build on that strong foundation."

Staff of Seawinds Clinic of the Cape Town Municipality: "Through COHSASA we now have a team that pulls together to achieve results and with the full back-up of the community, it is easy to succeed and work can be a lot of fun!"

Hestelle Louw, Chief Nursing Director and Quality Control Officer, Vergelegen Hospital, Somerset West (Private): "You can't fool COHSASA. The programme requires that everyday activities be measured against standards, which require policies, procedures and protocols. It provides a measurable post mortem of the way we do things and burrows into existing systems to weigh actual activity against optimal activity."