Abuja, 18 September 2019 - Nigeria joined the world in commemorating the first “World Patient Safety Day” on 17th September 2019 themed "Patient Safety: a global health priority. “
Evidence shows that in low and middle income countries, 134 million adverse events occur annually in hospitals with one out of every 10 patients in medical facilities acquiring healthcare-associated infections. Furthermore, in developing countries, more than half of all infants housed in units for newborns suffer healthcare-associated infections with a fatality rate of between 4% and 56%. This informed the establishment of the 17th September of every year as World Patient Safety Day by the 72nd World Health Assembly in May 2019. Commemoration of the day serves to raise awareness and understanding of patient safety in order to galvanize action towards safer systems, services, procedures, and practices in health care to eliminate harm to patients and to mitigate any risk of harm to patients.
Speaking at a press briefing by the Federal Ministry of Health to mark the day, the Honorable Minister for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire noted that patient safety is prioritized in Nigeria’s National Health Policy 2016 and second National Strategic Health Development Plan 2018 - 2022. Nigeria’s Patients’ Bill of Rights – introduced last year – also indicates that health providers are liable to provide quality care by ensuring that they “deliver care that minimizes risk and harm to patients, including preventable injury and errors” and “adopt clinical governance standards and provide the best care while protecting patients from harm, or abuse.”.
“As we mark this first Patient Safety Day, I urge all stakeholders to support [the] government’s efforts in ensuring patient safety, mainstreaming quality of care at all levels, managing risks and fostering supportive and learning cultures,” Dr Ehanire said.
Speaking during a media round table to commemorate the day, the Officer-in-Charge of World Health Organization (WHO) in Nigeria, Dr Peter Clement, on behalf of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, stated “WHO is committed to support countries in determining the status of patient safety, development and implementation of national policies, guidelines and protocols for enhancing patient safety, as well as facilitating patient safety networks and partnerships”.
Patient safety is an essential component of health care that should be given immediate attention. The campaign brings all key stakeholders together and allows providers, seekers, and managers of health care services to express solidarity and commitment to make health care safer. He further stated that greater patient involvement is the key to safer care and on this first World Patient Safety Day WHO is urging patients, healthcare workers, policy makers and the healthcare industry to “Speak up for patient safety!”
“Your involvement, support, and enthusiasm will help to ensure the impact of this campaign,” Dr Clement said.
Dr Okoroafor, Sunny; Email: okoroafors [at] who.int; +234 813 173 6279