The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of most health systems across the globe.
Ehanire, made this known in his message to mark the ‘World Patient Safety Day,’ on Thursday in Abuja , noting that the pandemic also bared the deficits in infrastructure, equipment, manpower and management, stressing that the situation has humbled even those thought to be the most robust.
The World “Patient Safety Day” was set aside in May 2019 by the World Health Assembly Resolution 72.6 on the subject “Global action on Patient Safety”, to recognise and highlight the safety of patients as a global health priority.
The theme for this year is “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety”, with the slogan “Safe health workers, safe patients.”
He said the theme is apt, as it fit the prevailing sentiment of the day defined by the covid-19 pandemic, and the heroic role healthcare workers at the frontlines have played, to keep everyone safe.
The Minister also added that the fatigue of overburdened care providers and the psychosocial impact of covid19 on both patients and caregivers were apparent in this period, as “They work odd hours, suffer discomfort, stigma, risk infection and even their lives. Nigeria is among dozens of countries in the world who have lost health workers to COVID-19.”
He said it is only fair that global attention and emphasis should be on the importance of safety for all health workers, especially those engaged in the COVID-19 response.
“Since only healthy and safe health workers can provide care and safety to patients, the Government of Nigeria made it a point of duty to ramp up training of health workers in infection prevention and control and supplied barrier personal protective equipment to avoid virus transmission and risk to our staff. Infected healthcare workers would face quarantine, which could mean manpower shortage and interrupt essential healthcare services.
“Despite all our sacrifices, more will be expected of us who have signed up for the healthcare profession. We shall be reminded that we have committed to serve humanity and that the lives and wellbeing of our patients are in our hands. In truth, ours is the noble profession, where the responsibility we are given for the lives of others or for the others who have entrusted their lives to us, begins with ensuring that they are safe in our care, no matter the cost to us. It must be an article of faith.
“The Federal Ministry of Health will work on creating a specific policy on patient safety. However, the National Health Act (2014) and Patients’ Bill of Rights (2018) advocate for the safety of patients, and aspects of it are also reflected in such guidelines and measures for infection prevention and control as injection safety, firm perioperative protocols, radiation protection and pharmacovigilance.These are building blocks for consolidation into a single ‘Patient Safety Policy.”
The Minister called on all stakeholders to support the Federal Ministry of Health in ensuring the safety of health workers and patients.