The Federal Government says it has developed the first ever National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and Care Quality.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Kachollom Daju, said this in Abuja on Monday at the World Patient Safety Day 2023 press briefing.
Daju said the theme: “Engaging Patients for Patient Safety’ and the slogan ‘Elevate the Voice of Patients’ were aimed to increase public awareness and advocacy for the adoption of best practices to promote patient safety.
”The ministry has just developed the first ever National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and care quality.
“It was sent for stakeholders review on 14 and 15 September.
”This has been done in line with the Resolution 18 of the 55 World Health Assembly (WHA 55.18) which called for Member States to recognise the burden of patient safety and to set up policies to manage them,” she said.
According to her, the event underscored the importance of patient safety in the healthcare system.
Daju said that the policy focuses on improving patient and family engagement in health care, medication safety, surgical safety, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and safety of all medical procedures.
“It is my hope that health facilities at all levels will adopt and implement this policy,” she said.
Daju said that patient safety, fundamentally entails preventing errors and minimising harm to patients during provision of healthcare services.
She said that the errors could come from surgical mishaps, medication errors, or diagnostic inaccuracies, saying however that safeguarding patients is of utmost importance.
”This year’s theme: “Engaging patients for patient safety.” Emphasise the pivotal role patients, their families and caregivers play in ensuring the safety of healthcare delivery.
“Empowering patients to become integral members of their healthcare teams is a crucial avenue to significantly enhance the safety of their care and the healthcare system as a whole.
”Patients can provide invaluable contributions when they actively participate in their healthcare decisions.
“Research has shown that there is positive correlation between patient active participation in their care, and overall health outcomes,” Daju said.
She said that under the banner “elevate the voice of patients!”, the World Health Organisation called upon all stakeholders to take the necessary steps to ensure that patients are not just passive recipients of healthcare but active participants.
“This includes involving them in policy formulation, representation in governance structures, co-designing safety strategies, and making them partners in their own care,” Daju said.
Dr Walter Mulombo, WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, said that safety of patients is a top priority for the organisation.
Mulombo said it is also inherent in their efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to him, the theme spotlights the requirement for the public to promote healthcare safety through engagement sessions to: first, discuss their role in the co-development of policies and plans.
Others, he said are strategies, programmes and guidelines to make health care safer.
“Second, offer opportunities to patients and families exposed to unsafe care to share their experiences and tell their stories to improve understanding of the nature of harm and foster the development of more effective solutions.
“And third, devise mechanisms to build the capacity of patient advocates and champions in patient safety,” he said.
Mulombo said that more than 50 per cent of the harm that patients experience are preventable if coedincerted efforts and requisite investments are done.