The Federal Government, on Monday, said it had developed the National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality to improve the safety of all medical procedures, and enhance the quality of health care delivery.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Kachollom Daju, made this known at a press briefing in commemoration of the World Patient Safety Day.
Daju said the policy aligns with the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
The World Patient Safety Day is observed on September 17, every year. This year’s theme is, “Engaging patients for patient safety,” in recognition of the crucial role patients, families and caregivers play in the safety of health care.
The World Health Organisation said evidence shows that when patients are treated as partners in their care, significant gains are made in safety, patient satisfaction and health outcomes.
Daju said the day underscores the importance of patient safety in the healthcare system.
“I am delighted to inform you that the Federal Ministry of Health has just developed the first ever National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and Care Quality which was sent for stakeholders review last week Thursday and Friday. This has been done in line with the Resolution 18 of the 55th World Health Assembly which called for Member States to recognise the burden of patient safety and to set up policies to manage them.
“This National Patient Safety and Care Quality Policy focuses on improving patient and family engagement in health care, medication safety, surgical safety, infection prevention & control, safety of all medical procedures etc. It is my hope that health facilities at all levels will adopt and implement this policy.
“Patient safety fundamentally entails preventing errors and minimising harm to patients during provision of healthcare services. These errors could come from surgical mishaps, medication errors, or diagnostic inaccuracies, however, safeguarding our patients is of utmost importance.”
The Permanent Secretary said 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.
“Under the banner ‘Elevate the voice of patients’, the WHO calls 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.”
She said the government was committed to providing safer and higher-quality health services to everyone in Nigeria as this strengthens the healthcare system and builds trust among citizens.
Meanwhile, the Director of Hospital Services, Dr Jimoh Salaudeen, called on stakeholders to take the necessary action to ensure that patients are involved in policy formulation, represented in governance structures, engaged in co-designing safety strategies, and are active partners in their own care.
“This can only be achieved by providing platforms and opportunities for diverse patients, families, and communities to raise their voice, concerns, expectations and preferences to advance safety, patient centeredness, trustworthiness, and equity,” Salaudeen added.
The WHO said around one in every 10 patients is harmed in health care and more than three million deaths occur annually due to unsafe care.
The global body noted that in low-to-middle income countries, as many as four in 100 people die from unsafe care.
“Above 50 per cent of harm (one in every 20 patients) is preventable; half of this harm is attributed to medications. Some estimates suggest that as many as four in 10 patients are harmed in primary and ambulatory settings, while up to 80 per cent (23.6–85 per cent) of this harm can be avoided,” it said.