Ghana Commemorates Maiden Patient Safety Day

A photo of participants after the opening ceremony

Ghana has joined other countries around the world to commemorate the first ever patient safety day.

The day recognizes patient safety as a global health priority.

The World Health Assembly adopted Resolution 72.6, urging member states to recognize patient safety as a health priority in health sector policies and programmes, making it an essential component for strengthening healthcare system.

In this regard, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Ministry of Health and their partners have begun a three day conference in Accra to contribute to the global effort in achieving quality universal health coverage by 2030.

The event under the theme: “No Quality, No Coverage: Water Sanitation and Hygiene and Infection Prevention in all Healthcare Facilities Now” is to create a platform for all stakeholders to discuss patient safety and health care quality across clinical, public health and administrative considerations in relation to but not limited to water sanitation and hygiene as well as infection prevention and control.

Director General of the GHS, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, in his statement, said the quest to improve patient safety and healthcare quality remains a top priority for the Service.

He emphasized the need for the health sector to strengthen its work across sectors and discipline.

“Beyond advocacy through a conference such as this, I urge management of health facilities to commit themselves and adopt measures to ensure a good compliance to basic hand hygiene protocols in our health facility,” he explained.

“I strongly believe if every caregiver would reliably practice simple hand hygiene when leaving the bedside of every patient and before touching the next patient, there would be an immediate and profound reduction in the spread of health-care associated infection and ultimately improve patient safety and healthcare quality in our health facility,” he added.

Deputy Minister of Health, Alex Kodwo Abban, said government was developing a road map policy on Universal Health Coverage, comprising of patient safety to improve the health of the citizenry.

This, the Minister said, was necessary because many patients suffer avoidable harm or were put at the risk of injury while receiving healthcare.

He announced that Ghana, Ethiopia and South Africa were among African countries selected to model the Africa initiative involving 10 hospitals and it was aimed at reducing avoidable harm by 25 per cent in two years.

The hospitals are La General Hospital, St Luke Hospital, Methodist Faith Healing Hospital, and Nyaho Medical Centre.

He said the hospitals were chosen to include the private sector and faith-based organisations to learn from various places providing a safe, and quality healthcare.

Statistics show that in high income countries, one in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care, and that over 2.6 million deaths are recorded yearly in lower income countries.

Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said government has designed policy reforms to ensure proper sanitation in the country.

She said government was committed to providing the needed technical support to improve sanitation especially in the health sector.

The Minister urged health practitioners to ensure proper management of sanitation at the hospitals to improve healthcare delivery.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri