Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has emphasised the importance of safety for all health workers, especially those engaged in the COVID-19 response.
In a press statement to mark the world patient safety day on Thursday, 17th September, 2020, the Minister said
“this year being also the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, it is fair that global attention and emphasis should rightly be on the importance of safety for all our health workers, especially those engaged in the COVID-19 response.”
He further stated that global experience from the response to the pandemic exposed the fragility of most health systems and humbled even those thought to be the most robust.
“It also bared deficits in infrastructure, equipment, manpower and management. The fatigue of overburdened care providers and the psychosocial impact of covid19 on both patients and caregivers were apparent.
“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,” Ehanire said.
He added that the Federal Ministry of Health would work on creating a specific policy on patient safety, adding that the National Health Act (2014) and Patients’ Bill of Rights (2018) advocate for the safety of patients, and aspects of it were also reflected in such guidelines and measures for infection prevention and control as injection safety, firm perioperative protocols, radiation protection and pharmacovigilance.
He said these were 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 that country has safe health workers and safe patients.