Ghana marks National Patient Safety Day 2021 - IRC joins GHS and partners

Ghana marks National Patient Safety Day 2021 - IRC joins GHS and partners

IRC Ghana joined the Ghana Health Service and partners to celebrate the third National Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality Conference 2021, held in Accra from September 15-17, on the theme: “No Quality, No Coverage. Safe Maternal and Newborn Care Now.”

In the keynote address to celebrate the day, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu called on all agencies under the health sector to align their policies and programmes with the National Healthcare Policy.

He said this is to ensure the sustainable achievement of the set goals of the national policy, which includes Universal Health Coverage and high-quality healthcare delivery and eventually, the Sustainable Development Goals.

The minister, whose speech was read on his behalf pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic exposed some weaknesses in the healthcare system, but good to note that a lot of these issues have been articulated in the National Healthcare Policy.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said the Ministry is committed to high standards of patient safety as an aspect of quality, and that government has considered this in its Agenda 111, not only would it focus on coverage, but also quality.

He was concerned about the recent rising number of cases of medical negligence, and attributed it not only to some patients and families becoming too conscious of their rights, but also because not much focus has been given to these areas.

He called for the support of partners and the media in educating the public on patient safety and advocating for high standards of care within the health care delivery system, especially for the excluded and vulnerable groups. He appealed to all to continue adhering to all the safety and hygiene protocols to help win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said it is gratifying that the this year’s celebration is shining light on maternal and newborn safety, and recounted the efforts made so far by the GHS, stressing that the problem is still how to ensure full scale implementation.

WHO Country Representative, Dr Francis Kasolo said globally, 2.6 million people die annually due to medical errors, and that many of these errors are preventable, especially if best practices are scaled up at the point of use, and that WHO is commitment to support Ghana in this direction.

Vida Duti, IRC Ghana Country Director called on stakeholders to push for the implementation of interventions that will deliver services to all, especially the excluded, vulnerable and hard to reach. She made this call when she chaired the second session of day-2 of the conference. This session had four topics, including a joint presentation by IRC Ghana and the Institutional Care Division of the Ghana Health Service, titled, ‘What are our patients saying about the quality of essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic? - Patient perspectives of experience of care.’

At a side interaction, Vida Duti indicated that Covid-19 pandemic has given us a clear message – that achieving patient safety is impossible without first attending to health workers safety, and that it is important to make this a priority. Adding that this among others informed IRC support for the Ghana Health Service to conduct exposure risk assessment among healthcare providers in facilities that managed COVID-19 cases to inform the review of national WASH-IPC guidelines. She pledged IRC’s commitment to the partnership with the Ghana health service.

This year’s conference attracted health and allied professionals from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), Development Partners (DPs), the media.