World Patient Safety Day: Patients admonished to act for their safety

By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey

Accra Sept 19, GNA – Ghana on Monday commemorated the World Patient Safety Day with a call on patients to actively participate in their health by asking questions and voice out their concerns when seeking healthcare.

Deputy Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Anthony Adofo Ofosu said evidence had shown that significant gains were achieved in patient safety and satisfaction and health outcomes when patients were involved in their own care.

He was speaking at this year’s World Patient Safety Day event, which coincided with the inaugural session of the 5th National Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality Conference in Accra.

The two-day conference is on the theme “Engaging patients, their families and communities for patient safety.”

It seeks to involve policymakers, healthcare leaders and workers, patient organizations, civil society, and other stakeholders in efforts to engage patients and families in safe healthcare policies and practices.

According to the World Health Organization, one out of every ten people is harmed while receiving healthcare, and 134 million adverse events occur annually due to unsafe healthcare in hospitals in lower-middle-income countries, resulting in 2.6 million deaths.

The Deputy Director General noted that 80 per cent of those deaths were avoidable.

“Our efforts to ensure that we create a health system where no one is harmed, can be achieved by providing platforms and opportunities for diverse patients, families, and communities to raise their voices, concerns, expectations, and preferences to advance safety, patient- centeredness, trustworthiness, and equity,” he said.

Dr. Ofosu stated that the GHS had developed its first patient safety policy, which would be launched in a few weeks.

This would be a significant step toward enhancing conceptual clarity and synergy across existing patient safety-related interventions to harmonize efforts for a zero-harm health system and promote a safety culture.

This strategy is also a response to the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2023 which aligns Ghana’s efforts with the Universal Health Coverage goal of leaving no one behind.

Dr Joyce Aryee, Executive Director of Salt and Light Ministries said the theme for the conference was timely due to complaints about inadequate care and safety in the hospitals and reiterated the need for a concerted localised effort to improve healthcare in Ghana.

“Today patient harm due to unsafe care is a large global public health challenge and a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.”

Professor Fracis Kasolo, the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Ghana said the safety of patients had been a top priority for the WHO.

This year’s theme emphasises the need to involve the community in the development of healthcare policies to help make the area safe for all people.

World Patient Safety Day was adopted by the World Health Assembly through Resolution 72.6 on ‘Global action on patient safety’ for its member states in 2019.

The global theme for this year’s World Patient Safety Day celebration is, “Engaging patients for patient safety,” to recognise the crucial role patients, families and caregivers play in the safety of health care.