The federal government has developed a national policy and implementation strategy on patient safety and care quality.
Kachollom Daju, permanent secretary at the federal ministry of health, announced the development of the policy on Monday at a press conference to commemorate World Patient Safety Day 2023.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Engaging patients for patient safety”.
Daju said the policy would help to prevent errors and minimise harm to patients during the provision of healthcare services.
She said the initiative is in line with resolution 18 of the 55th World Health Assembly (WHA 55.18) which called for member states to recognise the burden of patient safety and set up policies to manage them.
She said the policy focuses on improving patient and family engagement in health care.
Other areas of focus of the policy according to Daju, include medication and surgical safety, infection prevention and control (IPC), and safety of all medical procedures.
“Patient safety fundamentally entails preventing errors and minimizing harm to patients during the provision of healthcare services,” she said.
“These errors could come from surgical mishaps, medication errors, or diagnostic inaccuracies, however, safeguarding our patients is of utmost importance.
“This year’s theme emphasises the pivotal role patients, their families, and caregivers play in ensuring the safety of healthcare delivery.
“Empowering patients to become integral members of their healthcare teams is a crucial avenue to significantly enhance the safety of their care and the healthcare system as a whole.
“It is my hope that health facilities at all levels will adopt and implement this policy.”
Also speaking at the event, Walter Kazadi Mulombo, World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative, said the standard of care provided is often jeopardised by a lack of coordination of quality programmes, human resource challenges, and inadequate data to guide decision-making.
Mulombo, represented by Alexander Chimbaru, deputy county representative, said it is crucial that key players in the health sector in Nigeria become more familiar with patient and family engagement, which are key in ensuring patient safety.
“They also need more capacity to incorporate patient and family engagement into new or existing patient safety and overall service delivery efforts,” he said.
“Collective efforts to provide educational tools for patients and deliver programmes and services tailored to their needs and preferences can enhance patient experiences and offer beneficial impacts and better clinical and overall health outcomes.”