Medical Facilities & Patient Safety in Nigeria

In Morning Crossfire 2019-09-23 09:32:33
Medical Facilities & Patient Safety in Nigeria
Medical Facilities & Patient Safety in Nigeria

Morning Crossfire takes a deep look at World Patient Safety Day celebrated every 17th September.  The show, anchored as usual by Wemimo Adewuni and Sheriff Quadri also takes a look at medical facilities in Nigeria and patients’ safety. The World Health Organization has commemorated this day to raise awareness on patients’ safety and to show commitment to making healthcare safer.


According to the WHO, “Patient safety is the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of health care and reduction of risk of unnecessary harm associated with health care to an acceptable minimum."


Statistics have it that some 134 million adverse events occur in hospitals due to unsafe care in hospitals in low and middle income countries, contributing to 2.6 million deaths annually. Also, the report says 50 percent of hospital expenses can be attributed to treating patient safety failures. Four out of ten patients are harmed in the primary and ambulatory services department. Medical errors also cause to up to 42 billion dollars every year.


A recent study by the WHO puts the number of medical doctors per 1000 people in Nigeria at 0.37, which translates to 370 doctors in every 10000 Nigerians.


Dr. Tuyi Mebawondu starts by telling show hosts what the patient should do because as he said, patient safety is a big challenge that must be looked into. He says patients are of the perception that they are likely going to get harmed in the process of seeking medical attention.


“When we talk of patient safety, we are talking of absence of preventable harm. The statistics are quite scary. The first principle of patients' safety is to do no harm. Your interaction with the patient is key. The safety of medical equipment is also key in ensuring a patient's safety. Structure and process in the hospital are also very important. We must to patient-centre care where doctors will put patients first.


“So think of a situation in which a Jehovah’s Witness brings his child to you and says he doesn’t want to take blood. It will be very foolhardy for you to refuse to comply because there are consequences.”


Regarding bad treatment received by patients, Nurse Madonna Wichendu remarks that many Nigerians are impatient, especially when it comes to accessing care in medical facilities. “When you go to public hospitals, it’s different from going to private hospitals. Most of our hospitals are not ICT-based so patients find themselves moving from one place to another and by the time they get to the right nurse, they are probably worked up.”


Wemimo chips in that the remark sounds luxurious and is not found in many public hospitals in Nigeria. But the nurse explains that when doctors and nurses are overwhelmed, they are stressed.


Rotimi Sankore says that the education sector should be better involved in the retraining of the health sector. From his two-decade experience in health financing it is found that governments that avoid health financing put themselves in a tight corner.


“Nigeria, which has less than 40 thousand practicing doctors ought to have about 500 thousand practicing doctors. For nurses and mid-wives, we are short over a million. There’s trouble when a nurse that should be caring for one patient is caring for 30 or 40. On top of this, there are no medicines, no equipment, no water, no light, poor administrative process that’s not computerized.”


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Resource Persons:

Rotimi Sankore, Data Analyst, Development Expert

Dr. Tuyi Mebawondu (Medical Doctor)

Nurse Madonna Wichendu (NANNIM Chairman)


By Jude Chukwuemeka