The Federal Government in a bid to press on the significance of enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery and promoting patient safety best practices, in line with the current administration’s ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ has developed the first-ever National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and Care Quality.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Daju Kachollom mni, made the announcement at a press briefing on Monday to commemorate the 2023 World Patient Safety Day with the theme ‘Engaging the Voice of Patients

Daju said that the National Patient Safety and Care Quality was in line with Resolution 18 of the 55th World Health Assembly (WHA 55.18) which called for Member States to acknowledge the burden of patient safety and set up policies to manage them.

She further explained that the National Policy focuses on improving patient and family engagement in health care, medication safety, surgical safety, infection prevention and control as well as safety of all medical procedures amongst others.

The Permanent Secretary emphasized that patient safety fundamentally entails preventing errors and minimizing harm to patients during the provision of healthcare services saying that this year’s theme placed an importance on the pivotal role of patients not just as passive recipients of healthcare but active participants.

According to her, empowering patients to become members of their healthcare teams was a crucial avenue to significantly enhance the safety of their care and the healthcare system as a whole.

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“Under the banner “Elevate the voice of patients!” the World Health Organization (WHO) calls upon all stakeholders to take the necessary steps to ensure that patients are not just passive recipients of healthcare but active participants. This includes involving them in policy formulation, representation in governance structures, co-designing safety, and making them partners in their own care”.

Speaking further, Daju reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to providing safer and higher-quality health services to Nigerians and will holistically approach challenges through its four-point agenda on improving the quality of health, population health outcomes; medical industrialization and improving health security.

She called on Patient advocacy groups, donors and development partners, State Ministries of Health, Heads of healthcare facilities, Educational and Research Institutions as well as Regulatory and Professional bodies to work hand in hand with the government towards ensuring that the voices of patients are heard and their concerns promptly addressed in order to elevate the standard of healthcare in Nigeria.

Earlier, Dr. Moeti Matshidiso, WHO African Regional Director, represented by Alex Chimbuaya informed that the need to involve patients in their care cannot be over-emphasized, adding thatevidence shows that patient engagement reduces healthcare errors and costs, and improves health outcomes, health care delivery and quality of care and life.

“More than 50% of the harm that patients experience is preventable if concerted efforts and requisite investment are done. At WHO and with our partners, we establish mechanisms to steer and coordinate efforts, build required capacity and networks for all aspects of patient safety, including patient engagement, and provide guidance documents and tools for empowering patients and families”.

He congratulated the Ministry of Health for its progress in developing the National Quality Policies and Strategies (NQPS) saying this was a step in the right direction as more than 50% of the harm that patients experience is preventable if concerted efforts and requisite investment are done.