A team of experts, under the auspices of National Health Management, NHM, has appealed to health practitioners in Nigeria to ensure that adequate care, which comprises application of right medication and treatment, is given to patients under their watch.
The experts believe doing so would greatly improve patients’ care, hope of survival and eventual wellness, since patients come to health facilities for treatment because they see health practitioners as the bastion of care.
At a two-day conference in Abuja, the experts deliberated on weaknesses in health systems that lead to medication errors and the several resultant harms.
With the theme: “Improving Patient Safety through leadership and Management Development,” the gathering aimed at sensitizing practitioners in the country on prompt delivery of healthcare by strengthening their clinical knowledge, skills as well as performance.
Addressing participants, Country Representative, World Health Organization, Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alem said it was unfortunate that many patients suffer a lot of challenges while seeking to improve their health status in health facilities.
According to him, patient safety is a topic that addresses the core essence of healthcare delivery. “People seek healthcare services to improve their health status, therefore, it is always alarming to hear of patients suffering preventable harm in the process of seeking healthcare services,” he added.
Represented by Mr Tayo Hamzan of the WHO office, Alem added that patient safety and quality of care estimates available from developed countries indicate that one in every 10 patients are harmed while receiving hospital care, leading to unnecessary expenditures on prolonged hospitalization, litigation and loss of income on the part of the patients.
Suggesting possible solution to the challenge of patient safety in Nigeria, the WHO chief called for development and implementation of national policy on patient care. “The burden of unsafe health care delivery is huge, not only to the patient but to the healthcare system and to the nation in the long run, as it results in loss of confidence in the health care system.
“Addressing patient safety issues will lead to huge savings for the countries on healthcare expenditure… “The leadership in healthcare must rise to the situation by providing a conducive environment for change in practices, regulation and coordination of patient safety interventions and effort through the provision of strategic direction and sustained political will for the institutionalization of patient safety culture in our healthcare system,” he said.
He however, charged government at all levels in the country to pay proper attention to the issue of safety of every Nigerian seeking care.
He promised that WHO would continue to be available to support effort towards patient safety in collaboration with relevant United Nations agencies.
In his address, Dr. Emmanuel Abolo, revealed that 75 percent of care service delivery personnel lack orientation.
He also identified poor health care policy, challenges in accessing funding, obtaining professional skills and knowledge to serve the needs of their patients.
He added that with adequate leadership, attention and resources, improvement of health services is possible in Nigeria.
In her welcome remarks, the National Consultant of National Healthcare Management and Programme Coordinator Ms. Oluwakemi Lawanson, said the gathering was designed to convene key stakeholder who have the core mandate to ensure patient safety and those strategic to expansion of patient safety programme, as well as Universal Health Coverage UHC, in the country.
Lawanson added that the gathering of stakeholders served as a central platform for high advocacy and a catalyst towards improving patient safety at all levels of care in Nigeria through leadership and management development.