WHO Tasks Nigeria to Improve on Patient Safety


Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for improved efforts towards patient safety in Nigeria.

WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu made the call during a national healthcare management conference on patient safety held recently in Abuja.
He said the present situation revealed that there was more work to be done to achieve patient safety in Nigeria and in Africa.

“The burden of unsafe healthcare 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 healthcare system,” he said.

He said common patient safety issues include misdiagnosis, medication errors including antimicrobial resistance, workforce safety, healthcare-associated infections, and surgery-related complications.

He 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 efforts, adding 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 said 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 healthcare providers, among others.

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 off because of so many unwarranted causes that could be avoided.

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

Dean, 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.

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