Medics urged to prioritise patients safety

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023 07:00 | By
Medics urged to prioritise patients safety
A medic with protective gloves. PHOTO/Courtesy

Medical practitioners and health facilities have a greater responsibility to ensure patient safety, the Ministry of Health and partners have said.

The calls come against findings that preventable curative errors are leading to deaths of thousands of ill people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates show that more than 50 percent of harm to patients, about one out of two, is preventable.

But the ministry regrets that medical errors, infections and preventable incidents in healthcare can result in patient harm, long-term disabilities or even loss of life.

While marking the World Patient Safety Day, the ministry, WHO and other partners called on medical practitioners and health providers to actively engage patients in their own care and rope in families as a critical aspect of patient safety.

“Inadequate communication between healthcare providers, patients, and their families can lead to misunderstandings; missed information, and ultimately errors in diagnosis and treatment,” Public Health Principal Secretary, Mary Muriuki was categorical, as she noted that when patients and/or their families are well-informed and involved in decision-making, they become partners in their healthcare journey.

Passive recipients

More data with the WHO indicate that around 1 in every 10 patients is harmed during health care and more than three million deaths occur annually because of unsafe care.

This situation, Muriuki pointed out, is worse in low-to-middle-income countries, where as many as four in 100 people die from unsafe care.

“Their voices, concerns and preferences must be heard and respected,” she said, emphasizing that patients are not passive recipients of care, but active participants whose perspectives are important in shaping safer and more effective healthcare systems.

The theme for this year’s World Patient Safety Day: “Engaging Patients for Patient Safety,” was captured well by all the speakers.

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