World Patient Safety Day: CMA urges Commonwealth governments to invest in health workers safety

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The Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) on Thursday urged governments of countries in the Commonwealth of Nations to invest in the safety of health workers to guarantee quality healthcare and patient’s safety.

The CMA President, Dr Osahon Enabulele, made the call in Awka on Thursday as Nigeria joined other countries to commemorate the World Patient Safety Day with the theme: “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety.”

World Patient Safety Day is marked on Sept. 17 every year to enhance global understanding of patient safety, increase public engagement in the safety of healthcare and promote global actions to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm.

Enabulele said that reports from various countries indicated that there were still huge gaps to be filled to adequately ensure the safety of health workers.

He said there were still lack of protection for physicians and other health workers from assaults and acts of violence even in the course of undertaking their sacred duties of saving lives in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The CMA president also said that there were still inadequate provision of working tools, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and unsatisfactory working conditions.

“On account of the above realities, the CMA calls on governments and other stakeholders to make greater investments and sustained commitments to the working conditions, occupational health and safety of healthcare workers.

“We remain irrevocably convinced that health worker safety is a sine qua non for patient safety, and these investments and sustained commitments to health worker safety are critical to the delivery of quality healthcare and patient safety.

“A physician or health professional who is not physically, mentally, and psycho-socially fit, or who works in unsafe conditions, is very unlikely to deliver quality patient care.

“The experiences from the current COVID-19 pandemic provide enough learning points and convictions on the critical need to adopt a more comprehensive strategic framework that gives emphasis to both health worker safety and patient safety,” he said in a statement made available to newsmen.

Enabulele appreciated the sacrifices and commitment of physicians and other healthcare workers across the globe in protecting and safeguarding humanity.

“Importantly, the CMA recognises their exemplary commitment to duty and provision of quality care in the current global war against COVID-19 pandemic.

“We regret the loss of healthcare workers and other citizens to the pandemic and deeply condole with their families and loved ones. We pray for the eternal repose of their great souls,” he said.

The CMA president, while appreciating past and present efforts of governments to provide for health worker safety and protection, urged them to institutionalise clinical governance at all levels of healthcare.

He promised that the association would continue to advocate for health worker safety and patient safety, including the sustained provision of safe working conditions, PPEs and incentives to motivate healthcare workers.