Africa-Press – Mauritius. An official ceremony marking the World Patient Safety Day 2022 which will be observed on 17 September, was held this afternoon at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam National Hospital (SSRN), in Pamplemousses.
On the occasion, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, and other eminent personalities present, proceeded to the launching of a Patient Identification Wristband to be implemented on a pilot basis. The Patient ID Wristband will have the name, surname, date of birth and unit number of the patient.
The theme chosen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) this year, is ‘Medication Safety’.
In his address, the Health Minister underlined that World Patient Safety Day is grounded in the fundamental principle of medicine: First Do No Harm, while emphasising that unsafe medication practices and medication errors are avoidable harm.
This Day’s objectives, said the Minister, are to raise awareness on the issue, engage key stakeholders and partners to strive to prevent medication errors as well as to empower patients and families.
Mr Jagutpal pointed out that it is estimated that one in 10 patients experiences an adverse event during their hospital stay in high income countries while the numbers are alarmingly high in low and middle-income countries.
He also indicated that some medication may cause secondary or adverse effects on patients due to malpractices in storage of drugs, prescription, dispensing and monitoring.
On that score, he highlighted that in Mauritius, the Pharmacy Board is responsible for the supervision of imports and distribution of medication in the private sector. He further dwelt on the role of the Pharmacovigilance Department in the case of adverse effects of medications.
Speaking about the Patient ID Wristband, Minister Jagutpal affirmed that the use of patients’ ID Wristband has decreased the potential errors that can compromise patient safety. As an identification method, it has been proven to contribute for improved safety processes for over a decade in developed countries, he informed.
He remarked that it reduces the possibility of medical errors and helps doctors and nurses to keep an accurate track of patient’s treatment and health parameters.
‘With the materialisation of the E-Health project of my Ministry, we will be able to add more patient related data on the Wristband and send the data on a secured network in the near future’, he added.
Besides , Mr Jagutpal reaffirmed the Ministry’s commitment to promote safe medication and welfare of patients while recalling that the ultimate objective is to improve public health services around the island.
Also present on the occasion, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Acting WHO Representative in Mauritius, Mrs Christine N. Umutoni, who in her address, encouraged all stakeholders, private partners, civil society and the community to speak up for patient safety and to act for safe medical practice. According to her, patient safety and medication safety should be a concern for everyone.
Mrs Christine Umutoni remarked that healthcare interventions are intended to benefit patients but they can sometimes be a source of harm. Globally, as many as four in 10 patients are harmed in primary and outpatient healthcare and up to 80% of harm is preventable, she indicated.
She stated that most errors are related to diagnosis, prescription and the use of medicines and thus underlined the need for everyone to advocate for medication without harm.
Mrs Umutoni also commended the Health Ministry for the effective work being done and for all the investments made over the course of the last two years as regards the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures.
Furthermore, the Acting WHO Representative reiterated her support to Mauritius in the health sector as well as in other areas.
In line with World Patient Safety Day, the SSRN Hospital is also organising a Ward Competition whereby wards at the hospital will be provided with assessment tools. Ward visits will be undertaken to identify the winner ward which advocated medication safety.
A Staff Competition has also been launched whereby all staff members are invited to submit a poster promoting medication safety.