THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has restated its commitment to support the federal government to implement policies on patient safety.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, represented by Dr Clement Peter, Officer in Charge, WHO Nigeria disclose this while briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that the briefing was part of the activities to celebrate the first annual World Patient Safety Day which has a theme “Patient’s Safety: a global health priority.”
He said that the theme called for all to give patient’s safety high priority.
Peter said the event also called for the promotion of open communication for learning from errors and to emphasise the importance of patient safety, as well as increasing the voice of the patient.
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He noted that the WHO Regional Office for Africa recognises and places high importance on patient safety to ensure that it has the rightful prominence within health care in the region.
He added that members of the WHO Regional Committee have called for a strong health system to address patient safety issues and the safety of health care workers.
Peter, however, lamented that there were many challenges in strengthening health systems to ensure patient safety in the region which include lack of national policies, strategies, standards, guidelines and tools on safe health-care practices.
He added that where the policies, strategies, standards, guidelines and tools exist there was an ineffective implementation.
He said there were inadequate funding and inadequate human resources for health, weak health-care delivery systems with sub-optimal infrastructure, poor management capacity and under-equipped health facilities.
He also hinted that there was an ineffective mechanism for forging strong partnerships to adequately involve patients and civil society in the improvement of patient safety.
Peter said patient safety was an essential component of health care that should be given immediate attention.
“Available evidence suggests that 134 million adverse events occur annually in hospitals similar to our setting here in the African Region.
“In low and middle-income countries, one out of every ten patients in health facilities acquire healthcare-associated infection.
“More importantly, in developing countries, more than half of all infants housed in units for newborns suffer health-care-associated infections with a fatality rate of between four per cent and 56 per cent.
“In turn, while caring for the sick, health-care workers are also exposed to risks such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV and other infections,’’ he said.