Experts To Focus On Addressing Information Gap for Patient Safety


Experts have noted that there is an outstanding gap in Uganda’s health care system when it comes to the issue of patient safety.

According to World Health Organisation,patient safety is the absence of preventable harm to a patient and reduction of risk of unnecessary harm associated with health care to an acceptable minimum.

One of the biggest challenges towards attaining this according to experts has been information gap amongst the patients but also absence of sufficient data collected by the government on it .

Regina Kamoga the Executive Director Coalition for Health Agriculture and Income Networks -CHAIN Uganda, a civil society organisation mentioned that there is need for patients to be empowered with information on their safety.

As an organisation, they have taken an initiative of training a number of health workers and young children to take charge of their safety as patients.

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This can include things like medical error, errors during diagnosis, misidentification of patients, unsafe injection practices, unsafe transfusion of blood practices among others.

She said: “Most patients don’t have that information, for us we have decided to start early from training young children who make up the future society. We train them on safe medication and other things.”

Kenneth Mutesasira a representative from WHO in charge of quality care also pointed out the same saying, that there is need for government to streamline feedback procedure for patients during medical care.

Mutesasira said that as WHO , it has been noticed that patient give limited feedback on their health care because a number do not have that information and do not know where to report.

Part of the role in ensuring patient safety for WHO is that they work with entities in Uganda to see that only certified medicine is allowed into the country to prevent harm to patients .

In addition Ssendyona Martin from the Ministry of Health working in the Quality Assurance Department urged patients to always give their feedback to immediate supervisors of the health workers attending to them.

He noted that the hierarchy of structure for reporting is that incase anything goes wrong during health care individuals can report to those incharge of a health facility they have gone to , once it’s beyond them it can even get to the district to regulatory bodies and at extends reach court .

He pledged that as Ministry of Health they would be working on streamlined tools to receive feed back from patients .

He said; “Some cases have been reported and action taken , health workers being rude , late and negligent among others .”

The National Drug Authority too is one of those bodies highly responsible in maintaining patient safety through monitoring the quality of medicine and side effects.

Helen Ndagije, the Director of product safety NDA reported that there are daily checks running on drugs released into the market to monitor their quality.

However she also pointed out the need for patients to have awareness that they can file complaints about medication given to them incase of a problem.

The National Drug Authority according to her even has a mandate of recalling any drugs once they realise they do not meet the required quality .

She called out to the public to use platforms as social media , health workers and manual complaint forms among other channels to speak up.

The conversation via X by the experts came in ahead of the World Patient Safety Day celebrated as an initiative by WHO since 2019 every September 17.

Statics by WHO indicate that 1 in every 10 patients is harmed in health care and more than 3 million deaths occur annually due to unsafe care.

In low-to-middle income countries, as many as 4 in 100 people die from unsafe care.Above 50percent of harm (1 in every 20 patients) is preventable; half of this harm is attributed to medications.

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