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Seychelles observes World Patient Safety Day with mass sensitisation campaign | 23 September 2019

Seychelles observes World Patient Safety Day with mass sensitisation campaign

One of the health teams stationed at Roche Caiman

In commemoration of the first World Patient Safety Day, observed last week on September 17, officials and health professionals from the Ministry of Health and the Seychelles Patients Association on Saturday went out in force for a mass sensitisation campaign on patient safety.

Starting from 8.30am until 12.30pm, over 100 health professionals and staff participated in a person to person sensitisation campaign, in various locations across the country including Beau Vallon, Plaisance, Anse Royale and Anse Aux Pins on Mahé, as well as at Baie Ste Anne and Grand Anse Praslin and La Digue to educate patients about their rights, responsibilities as well as other safe practices that they can implement at home or even within their working environments.

Sporting yellow, white and blue T-shirts, health teams stationed in critical locations in the respective districts where some were involved in engaging with passers-by, handing them leaflets about safety and hazards at home, the signs and symptoms of diseases and ailments, as well as information about patient safety while others were stationed within different sections to address the public’s queries pertaining to nursing and pharmaceuticals among others.

Principal secretary for health, Dr Bernard Valentin, noted that the focus for World Patient Safety Day was on patient safety in health care institutions but that the campaign extends beyond safety in health care institutions to encapsulate patient safety during care-giving at home.

“The focus will be on avoiding infections, injuries, accidents and errors while caring for a loved one at home. The information we will give will be beneficial to everyone,” Dr Valentin stated.

In addition to information from health teams, the public also had access to several health and patient information leaflets containing guidelines for disposing of medicines safely and properly, how to prevent mosquito bites and breeding and how to properly hand wash.

Nurse manager at the Les Mamelles and Mont Fleuri clinics, Monette Ernesta, explained that the health teams comprise nurses, pharmacists, dental professionals as well as physiotherapists to ensure that all patient concerns are addressed.

“We are targeting safety at home since there are many incidents that can occur within homes and patients then have to refer to a health centre. For instance, proper storage of medications at home is an issue and there are many instances of children ingesting medication not properly stored or kept out of their reach. Quite a high percentage of children report to hospital for ingesting pharmaceuticals,” Mrs Ernesta said.

“Then we also have falls and injuries caused due to a fall. There are different factors that can cause this, for instance the choice of flooring is an important consideration not only for elderly persons but any member of the family. Even on the road, some people are injured so we want to inform and educate them about the different preventative measures they can take,” Mrs Ernesta noted.

Mrs Ernesta and her health team also proceeded door-to-door to take the campaign to residents of Roche Caiman and Plaisance during the afternoon where they distributed leaflets and once again addressed questions and advised the residents.

Across all locations, members of the public were also being encouraged to join the Seychelles Patients Association, a patient solidarity association who advocates for patients across all disease areas and promote person-centred care in Seychelles.

Dr Valentin noted the support and contributions from the business community in order to realise the campaign, thanking them for the partnership and solidarity.

The mass sensitisation campaign, probably the first of this magnitude to take place simultaneously all over the country, is expected to be organised on all important health issues in future.

World Patient Safety Day was celebrated for the first time on September 17, 2019, after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the date earlier this year in May. The day is dedicated to raising awareness of the need to establish patient safety as a global health priority and aims to group together stakeholders in an effort to reduce the unintended harm caused by healthcare.

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