The Federal Government on Monday announced a national policy and implementation strategy on patient safety and care quality aimed at curbing incidences of medical errors and minimising harm to patients during the provision of healthcare services.
The policy is designed to empower patients to become integral members of their healthcare teams which, according to the government, is a crucial avenue to significantly enhance the safety of their care and the healthcare system as a whole.
Patient safety fundamentally entails preventing errors and minimising harm to patients during the provision of healthcare services. These errors could come from surgical mishaps, medication errors, or diagnostic inaccuracies.
Kachollom Daju, permanent secretary, federal ministry of health and social welfare, speaking at the World Patient Saftey Day in Abuja, stated that the policy focuses on improving patient and family engagement in healthcare, medication safety, surgical safety, infection prevention and control (IPC), safety of all medical procedures etc.
The policy, she added, has been designed in line with the Resolution 18 of the 55th World Health Assembly (WHA 55.18) which demands member states to recognise the burden of patient safety and set up policies to manage them.
“This National Patient Safety and Care Quality policy and 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”, she said.
“As we commemorate World Patient Safety Day, let us reaffirm our unwavering commitment to patient safety. Together, we can make our healthcare system safer, more efficient, and more responsive to the needs of our patients by listening to them. Let us continue to work hand in hand, involving patients and their families, to elevate the standard of healthcare in Nigeria”, she added.
Speaking, Walter Mulombo, the World Health Organisation country representative, stated that more than 50 percent of the harm that patients experience was preventable if concerted efforts and requisite investment were made.
While applauding Nigeria for the policy, the country representative called for its full implementation. He also called for coordination and integration, explaining that the quality of care provided was often jeopardised due to a lack of coordination and fragmentation of quality programmes, human resource challenges, and inadequate data to guide decision-making, among others.