WHO: Patients’ Safety in Nigeria Deplorable

  •  Calls for improved efforts

 Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

 The World Health Organisation (WHO) has deplored the level of measures adopted for patients’ safety in Nigeria.

Therefore, the global health agency has called for improved efforts towards better patient management in the country.

The WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, stated this yesterday during a national healthcare management conference on patient safety in Abuja.

 Alemu said the present situation showed that there is more work to be done to achieve patient safety in Nigeria and in Africa.

 He said: “The burden of unsafe health care delivery is huge, not only to the patient but to the healthcare system and to the nation in the long run, as it results in loss of confidence in the health care system.

“Common patient safety issues include misdiagnosis, medication errors including antimicrobial resistance, workforce safety, health care-associated infections, and surgery-related complications.”

According to him, addressing patient safety issues would lead to huge savings for  countries on healthcare expenditure.

 Alemu said the leadership in healthcare must rise to the situation by providing a conducive environment for change in practices, regulation and coordination of patient safety interventions and effort.

 He added that this could be done through provision of strategic direction and sustained political will for the institutionalisation of patient safety culture in our healthcare system.

 The WHO representative noted that the priority actions to start with include development of  a policy for strategic direction and mainstreaming patient safety, building capacity of health workers and employing the use of safe and suitable infrastructure as well as ensuring maintenance culture and safety of the healthcare environment for patients and even the health care providers.

 Others include patient safety education and training at all levels; developing quality improvement plan for health care delivery; making functional regulatory framework that ensures patient safety; and measuring the burden and cost of unsafe health care system through surveillance, vigilance, and use of technology and innovations.

Corroborating WHO’s observation, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who was represented by Dr. Omobolanle Olowu, said many patients have gone to health facilities to seek solutions to their health problems only to come out worse because of so many unwarranted causes that could be avoided.

Adewole said the country must urgently find strategies to medical errors, negligence to patients so that they could be reduced or completely avoided.

Also, the Dean of Rova College of Healthcare Executives, Dr. Emmanuel Abolo, called for systems and orientation of healthcare providers that would make it difficult for errors to occur.

 In her remark, the Executive Director of International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), Ms. Moji Makanjuola, said there was need to mentor young doctors in order to end the many preventable deaths from medical errors.