The policy is in line with resolution 18 of the 55th World Health Assembly which called for member states to recognise the burden of patient safety and to set up policies to manage them.
The Nigerian government has developed the National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality.
The development, the government said, is part of efforts to improve the safety of all medical procedures and enhance the quality of healthcare delivery.
The Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Health, Kachollom Daju, disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.
At the briefing, which was in commemoration of the 2023 World Patient Safety Day, Ms Daju said the national policy is in line with resolution 18 of the 55th World Health Assembly which called for member states to recognise the burden of patient safety and to set up policies to manage them.
“I am delighted to inform you that the Federal Ministry of Health has just developed the first ever National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and Care Quality which was sent for stakeholders’ review last week Thursday and Friday,” she said.
“This policy focuses on improving patient and family engagement in healthcare, medication safety, surgical safety, infection prevention & control, safety of all medical procedures and others.”
She said the federal government is hopeful that health facilities at all levels will adopt and implement this policy.
She noted that patient safety fundamentally entails preventing errors and minimising harm to patients during provision of healthcare services.
World Patient Safety Day
World Patient Safety Day is observed on 17 September every year to raise awareness regarding patient safety on the global level.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is: “Engaging Patients for Patient Safety,” in recognition of the crucial role patients, families, and caregivers play in healthcare safety.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around one in every 10 patients is harmed in health care and more than three million deaths occur annually due to unsafe care.
The global body noted that in low-to-middle-income countries, as many as four in 100 people die from unsafe care.
The permanent secretary said the day underscores the importance of patient safety in the healthcare system.
She said empowering patients to become integral members of their healthcare team is a crucial avenue to significantly enhance the safety of their care and the healthcare system as a whole.
She noted that patients can provide great contributions when they actively participate in their healthcare decisions.
“Under the banner ‘Elevate the voice of patients’, the WHO calls upon all stakeholders to take the necessary steps to ensure that patients are not just passive recipients of healthcare but active participants,” she said.
“This includes involving them in policy formulation, representation in governance structures, co-designing safety strategies, and making them partners in their own care.”
She said the government is committed to providing safer and higher-quality health services to everyone in the country, strengthening the healthcare system, and building trust among citizens.
The WHO said evidence shows that when patients are treated as partners in their care, significant gains are made in safety, patient satisfaction, and health outcomes.
Speaking at the event, WHO country representative, Walter Mulombo, said more than 50 per cent of the harm patients experience is preventable if concerted efforts and requisite investment are done.
Mr Mulombo said a number of countries in the African region have developed and are implementing the policy including patient safety action plans as well as other safety interventions such as Infection Prevention and Control to make health care safer.
In his remarks, the Director of Hospital Services, Jimoh Salaudeen, urge stakeholders to take necessary action to ensure that patients are involved in policy formulation, represented in governance structures, engaged in co-designing safety strategies, and are active partners in their own care.
Mr Salaudeen said this can only 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.