In a bid to save lives and improve healthcare experience in Nigeria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for more investment in the health sector.
Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Country Representative to Nigeria made the call Friday, September 17, 2021 in his message to commemorate this year’s World Patient Safety Day.
TheFact Nigeria reports that hospitals in Nigeria lack necessary facilities, and this was part of the reasons for the ongoing industrial action by the National Association of Resident Doctors, which sadly has led to more loss of lives.
Recall, the World Patient Safety Day is celebrated every year on September 17, to raise awareness of the importance of people-centred care and preventing harm to patients.
Dr. Kazadi disclosed that the theme for this year 2021 World Patient Safety Day “safe maternal and new-born care” with a campaign to “act now for safe and respectful childbirth” was apt, considering the efforts of Nigerian government to ensure safe birth and reduce the high maternal and newborn mortality in the country.
According to the WHO country representative, Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2018 showed that Nigeria had 512/100,000 livebirths and newborn mortality at 39 per 1000 livebirths.
Explaining the graveness of the situation, he said: “A similar picture is seen in the African Region. Africa accounts for nearly 7 out of 10 maternal deaths and 1 out of 3 newborn deaths globally.
“The major causes of death among pregnant women and mothers are postpartum haemorrhage, hypertensive diseases, and sepsis.
“Among newborns, the top causes of death include premature birth, babies not getting enough oxygen during birth, and infections”, Dr. Mulombo explained.
He echoed the thoughts of Dr. Moeti Matshidiso, Regional Director, WHO Africa that many of those deaths could be prevented by making sure patients felt safe, respected and that their needs were heard and acted on, and by equipping the health workers with the knowledge, skills and tools to take life-saving action.
The WHO Country Representative said there was need to do everything to stop the preventable deaths by ensuring our health facilities provide high quality, safe and effective healthcare.
He noted that women were confronted with a range of challenges as patients which included physical, verbal abuse, and exclusion from decision-making about their care, he said:
“For instance, during childbirth, most of our healthcare settings are not set up to allow for pregnant women to have their choice of having a birth companion present or to deliver in their preferred birthing position. New-born rights, to quality care for example, largely go unprotected.
“Care should be provided with compassion and respect, by health workers with the skills to succeed, and in clean and safe environments that prevent the spread of infections, said the WHO Country Representative.
He praised Government of Nigeria’s effort in establishing the Patient bill of right and disclosed that the WHO was providing support to Government of Nigeria to develop a national quality policy and strategy that will ensure quality of care provided to patients including pregnant women and their newborn babies.