with focus on the specific patient safety challenges that patients, health-care professionals and policy-makers face in Uganda.
Stakeholders that participated in the patient safety meeting
Kampala, 10th November 2015: With support from the World Health Organization (WHO), Community Health and Information Network (CHAIN) convened a stakeholders meeting on Patient Safety at Mulago Hospital Guest House bringing together over sixty (60) key healthcare stakeholders including; Ministry of Health, WHO, National Drug Authority, Medical Access, Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB) , patient and consumer organizations, health care professionals, Village health teams and the media. The workshop aimed at raising awareness on patient safety and the importance of patient and community involvement in healthcare services and improvement initiatives.
The 3-day meeting discussed issues concerning patient safety and health-care quality and brainstorm ways to incorporate patients and communities’ perspectives in efforts to address health-care challenges. The meeting also highlighted the recognition by the Ministry of Health of the importance of patient and family engagement and it signifies its commitment to bringing the people’s voice to the national health-care system and services.
Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director of Health Services in charge of Planning and Development at the Ministry of Health represented the Honorable Minister of Health Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye at the meeting as the Guest of Honour. He noted that globally, patient safety is a major public health concern whose progress requires global and national leadership, concerted efforts and commitment to learning, especially from errors and patient experiences.
Dr. Mwebesa also said that health care delivery process contains some risks and challenges and adverse events related to clinical practice, procedures and medical products can occur. He further affirmed Uganda’s commitment to ensuring the importance of patient safety is upheld in the health service delivery system. .
Dr. Juliet Bataringaya, the Health Systems Advisor at the WHO Uganda country office represented the WHO Country Representative at the meeting. She said that the work of WHO is aimed at ensuring positive patient experiences and improved health outcomes. She noted that one of the areas that still poses a challenge is health-care-associated infections which occur frequently in health-care delivery in both developed and developing countries. Dr. Julie highlighted the risk of acquiring health care-associated infections as significantly higher in intensive care units (ICUs), with approximately 30% of patients affected by at least one episode of health care-associated infections with substantial associated morbidity and mortality. In this regard, WHO launched the First Global Patient Safety Challenge, Clean Care is Safer Care in October 2005 and it targeted the important aspect of reducing health care-associated infections which is hand hygiene. The program has registered tremendous success with more than 130 member states making a commitment to promote hand hygiene within the health-care setting.
Health care workers, patients and the community have an important role to play in the promotion of hand hygiene and the patient safety advocates should carry this message to members of the public.
Ms. Nittita Prasopoa Palizier above the Program Manager and Technical Lead; Patients for Patient Safety at WHO Headquarters also made a presentation on the WHO perspective in engaging patients in health care. She said that patients are important in the process of administering health care because they witness every process and as such health workers ought to seek information from them. Ms. Nittita having underscored the importance of patient safety, further said that it is imperative for health workers to understand that patients have rights to; information, access their medical records and be involved in the decision making process.
The stakeholders present at the meeting included representatives of the Ministry of Health, Academia, health professionals, health workers from hospitals and health centers in the districts, community health workers, civil society organizations, members of the Uganda Alliance for Patient Safety, advocates from the Patients for Patient Safety (PFPS) Programme in WHO/HQ and the media.