Commemoration of Patient Safety Day | 18 September 2019
Patient safety is a global health priority
A half-day symposium was organised yesterday to commemorate the first-ever World Patient Safety Day under the theme ‘Speak Up for Patient Safety’.
The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Health and the Seychelles Patients Association and had participants from both the private and public health sector including health care workers, patients, policy makers and others concerned with patient safety.
In his opening remarks, Health Minister Jean-Paul Adam noted that “transparency and accountability are two main points for us to deliver a patient’s care centre. All patients who walk into our care, must feel they are entering a system that first of all puts their safety as the number one priority. The question of patient safety is a global problem. It is one that affects all countries of the world and one which is not based simply on means or on the amount of money that you have to invest in your health centre. Ultimately patient safety is about prioritising the patient; putting the needs of the patients first; and it is about having a system in place that can ensure that patients at all times have the best care possible with the minimum risk. One of the key elements of safety is accessibility to health care by everyone no matter their means or backgrounds. In Seychelles, we are lucky to have free access to our medical services and advices quicker than our peers.”
“The second element of patient safety is how to ensure and monitor that when something does go wrong, which inevitably will happen, no matter in what health system you may be, how do you address this kind of scenario. Since I have been the health minister, I have put a lot on emphasis on all of us in the health sector in taking pride in thoroughness and in addressing concerns reviews when they come to us in a systematic manner,” added the minister.
He urged health workers to be prepared to look at the work that has been done; address the near misses and use those experiences as a means of improving future care.
The minister also said that “whenever it is needed outside help is brought to help them. We have a multi-national team of health care people with different background and experience and I can say with great certainty that they are all committed with the welfare of their patients”.
The minister also thanked the media for the continuous support in getting the right information out.
Dr Teniin Gakuruh, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative, spoke about the different perspectives of WHO and read the message of the regional director for Africa.
“According to 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. An acceptable minimum refers to the collective notions of given current knowledge, resources available and the context in which care was delivered weighed against the risk of non-treatment or other treatment. Patient safety is an essential component of health care and should be given immediate attention. The campaign brings all stakeholders together and now provides the seekers and manager of health care services to express solidarity and commitment to make health care safety the fundamental principal is to do no harm.”
The theme of this year ‘Patient safety: A global health priority’, she noted, calls for promotion of open communication for learning from errors and to emphasise on the importance of patient safety as well as increasing the voice of the patients.
“WHO is committed to supporting countries in determining the status of patient safety development and implementation of national policies and guidelines and protocols for encompassing patient safety as well as facilitating patient safety networks and partnerships. I call upon all stakeholders to make strong commitments, to prioritise and take early actions and support implementation of strategies for ensuring patient safety, managing risks and supporting post learning culture. I encourage all to widely share information regarding this first World Patient Safety Day,” shared Dr Gakuruh.
“Some patients have been forever harmed in the past and others have actually died,” said Maizline Esther, vice-chairperson of the Seychelles Patients Association. Lapses in structures and processes that protect patients can indeed be fatal at times. This highly traumatic quality of care phenomenon is too high for comfort both in the rest of the world and in Seychelles. It increases both the level of distrust in health professionals and the level of health care costs,” added the representative of the Seychelles Patients Association, “it must be eradicated”.
During the symposium, one relative of a patient presented a harrowing account of the ordeal her family went through as a result of a breakdown in the quality of care.
“The purpose of the symposium is not to lay blame but to recognise the existence of the problem and its magnitude in Seychelles and do something about it,” said principal secretary for health, Dr Bernard Valentin, speaking both as a patient and a health leader.
“No patient should be harmed unnecessarily or die unnecessarily while receiving health care,” he added.
During the symposium, Dr Kenneth Henriette, director of the Seychelles Hospital, talked about the patient safety at Seychelles Hospital; Nicholas Shamlaye, director of community health services, talked about patient safety in the private sector; Krishnakanath Akula, a private pharmacist, talked about patient safety in the private sector; Dr Jude Gedeon, the public health commissioner, talked about regulating patient safety for better health and Dr Guy Ah Moye, a professional regulator, talked about patient safety: what else can we do?