The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it would back the Federal Government in executing policies pertaining to patient safety.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said this on Tuesday in Abuja.
The briefing, he said, was part of the activities to mark the first annual World Patient Safety Day tagged “Patient’s safety: a global health priority.”
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Moeti, who was represented by Dr Clement Peter, Officer in Charge, WHO Nigeria, issued a rallying cry to all concerned to prioritise patient safety.
He stated that the WHO Regional Office for Africa recognises the place of patient safety within health care in Nigeria.
However, Moeti disclosed that to ensure patient safety in the region, there were many challenges the health systems needed to address.
He listed this challenges as: lack of national policies, strategies, standards, guidelines and tools on safe health-care practices.
Moeti lamented that even when all of these were in place, they were still not properly implemented.
“Available evidence suggests that 134 million adverse events occur annually in hospitals similar to our setting here in the African Region.
“In low and middle income countries, one out of every ten patients in health facilities acquire health care-associated infection.
“More importantly, in developing countries, more than half of all infants housed in units for newborns suffer health-care associated infections with a fatality rate of between four per cent and 56 per cent.
“In turn, while caring for the sick, health-care workers are also exposed to risks such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV and other infections,’’ he stressed.
He therefore called for urgent addressing of these health care challenges so that patient safety could take its rightful place.