Nigeria is set to develop its National Policy and Strategy on Patient Safety and Quality of care.
The Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated this at the press briefing on the commemoration of the 2022 World Patient Safety Day in Abuja.
The Minister of Health who was represented by the Director of Hospital Services Dr. Adebiyi Adebimpe said the country is already working to develop its National Policy and Strategy on Patient Safety and Quality of care.
“We are hoping it will be completed and launched this year so that it can be deployed for use in all our health facilities at all levels of care. The policy focuses on improving medication safety, surgical safety, and adherence to all medical procedures.
” We are also engaging in sensitization and capacity building in the form of training on medication safety, infection prevention control, and other aspects of patient safety. It is our hope that hospitals at all levels will be able to adopt and implement patient safety at different levels of care”, he added.
He also enjoined all state ministries of Health, NAFDAC, heads of health care facilities, Educational and research institutions Regulatory and professional bodies, pharmaceutical industries, and the media to join hands to reduce medication errors, and ensure safer medication practices to enthrone patient safety in Nigeria.
The WHO Country Representative of Nigeria, Dr. Kazadi Mulombo who was represented by Dr. Alex Chimbaru, said global estimates show that medication errors contribute to over 3 million deaths every year,
“This situation has been exacerbated by overwhelmed health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. About one in every four cases of preventable medication harm is clinically severe, or life-threatening. Medication errors occur most commonly due to weaknesses in medication systems and are aggravated by shortages of well-trained health staff, and poor working and environmental conditions for delivery of quality health care. Consequently, patients’ rights to medication without prejudice can be compromised through inappropriate prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administration, and monitoring practices. He added that Nigeria needs a guideline on the prescription and dispensing of medicines and medical products to support the safety and audit of professional practice. In the same vein, he urged all stakeholders to fully commit to implementing the WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm, and to accelerate the actions necessary to ensure safe medication practices.
“The need for accurate data and information to guide future decision-making and optimization of therapeutics for good treatment outcomes in the Region cannot be overemphasized. While there is limited data for the African continent, it is generally acknowledged that there is a high magnitude of unsafe medication practices. Among low- and middle-income countries, the African Region has the highest prevalence of substandard and counterfeit medicines”, he added.
The President West African Academy of Public Health, Dr. Francis Ahanyido said patient safety should be the priority of health care professionals, and they should also be aware of the right information of the patient.
“It is important for us to build an effective team, the health care practitioners need to perform their role effectively well. Health literacy is very crucial at the facility level. All the team members must come together and ensure effective delivery”, he noted.