The Federal Government has announced the development of the first ever National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and Care Quality. Dr. Kachollom Daju, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, made this announcement during a press briefing in Abuja on World Patient Safety Day 2023.
The theme for this occasion, “Engaging Patients for Patient Safety,” along with the slogan “Elevate the Voice of Patients,” is intended to raise public awareness and advocate for the adoption of best practices to enhance patient safety.
Dr. Daju emphasized that the Ministry had recently formulated the first-ever National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and Care Quality, which was submitted for stakeholder review on September 14th and 15th. This initiative aligns with Resolution 18 of the 55th World Health Assembly (WHA 55.18), which urged Member States to acknowledge the significance of patient safety and establish policies to manage it.
She underscored the importance of patient safety within the healthcare system and highlighted that the policy’s key areas of focus include enhancing patient and family involvement in healthcare, medication safety, surgical safety, infection prevention and control (IPC), and the safety of all medical procedures. Dr. Daju expressed her hope that healthcare facilities at all levels would adopt and implement this policy.
Furthermore, Dr. Daju clarified that patient safety fundamentally involves preventing errors and minimizing harm during the provision of healthcare services, which could result from surgical errors, medication mistakes, or diagnostic inaccuracies. She stressed the utmost importance of safeguarding patients.
The theme for this year, “Engaging Patients for Patient Safety,” emphasizes the crucial role played by patients, their families, and caregivers in ensuring the safety of healthcare delivery. Empowering patients to actively participate in their healthcare decisions is seen as a vital means of significantly enhancing overall healthcare outcomes.
Dr. Daju explained that research has demonstrated a positive correlation between patient engagement in their care and improved health outcomes. Under the banner of “Elevate the Voice of Patients,” the World Health Organization (WHO) has called upon all stakeholders to involve patients in policy formulation, representation in governance structures, co-designing safety strategies, and making them partners in their own care.
Dr. Walter Mulombo, the WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, emphasized that patient safety is a top priority for the organization and is integral to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He highlighted the theme’s objectives, which include promoting healthcare safety through engagement sessions to discuss the public’s role in policy development, sharing experiences to better understand harm, and building the capacity of patient advocates and champions in patient safety.
Dr. Mulombo stressed that over 50% of patient harm is preventable through coordinated efforts and necessary investments.
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