Published in: Afrique en ligne
Issue/Volume: September 5, 2008

9/5/2008 – The call coincided with the signing, in Yaounde, Cameroon, of a pledge by African Ministers committing their countries to certain actions to reduce health care-associated infections.

Dr. Sambo, in a report to the current 58th session of the Regional Committee for Africa in Cameroon’s capital, listed 10 actions which he said could significantly improve patient safety in the African Region.

The actions include the development of a national policy for patient safety; awareness creation among stakeholders on the importance of patient safety; ensuring save surgical care; minising health care-associated infections and ensuring adequate funding for patient safety activities.

Other include knowledge and learning in patient safety; re-orienting health systems to make patient safety an integral part of quality care; ensuring appropriate use, quality and safety of medicines and strengthening surveillance and capacity for research.

“Every patient has the right to treatment using the safest technology available in health facilities. Therefore, all health care professionals and institutions have obligations to provide safe and quality health care and to avoid unintentional harm to patients,” Dr. Sambo said.

According to the WHO, health care-associated infection is a global problem, with more than 1.4 million people suffering from it at any given time.

It is estimated that in hospitals in developed countries, 5% to 10% of patients acquire one or more infections in health facilities – a figure believed to be between two and 20 times higher in developing countries.

In 2005, the World Alliance for Patient Safety – a WHO progamme – launched the First Global Patient Safety challenge, whose flagship is the ‘Cleaner Care is Safer Care’ initiative.

Some 39 African countries Wednesday signed on to the campaign, which by year’s end would have covered 80% of the world’s population.