Practitioners meet to discuss strengthening health systems to improve patient safety

stethoscopeAbout 320 delegates drawn from 187 health institutions operating under the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) have began their 45th annual national conference and Council meeting at Wa.

They are deliberating on how to strengthen health systems to improve patient safety.

The four-day conference and meeting will also serve as forum for members to reflect on the stewardship of their faith -based health institutions and update themselves on issues in the health sector.

CHAG is the umbrella body for all health facilities in the country which are run by the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, Christian Council of Ghana and the Catholic Church.

Dr Ephraim Avea Nsor, Upper West Regional Minister in a message read on his behalf called on health facilities to establish customer care units within their outfits as the first line of delivering quality services to patients.

To this end, he suggested that newly employed staff of health institutions should be given orientation on how to cater for the well being of patients before they begin work.

He also advised health sector institutions to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings and rather work as a team for the benefit of patients saying: “Our services border on health and there must be a limit to the extent of our quarrels.”

Dr Edith Andrews Annan, a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Ghana who read the keynote address for the Country Representative, said patient safety is at the core of universal health coverage and all health systems therefore needs to ensure that patients who access their services are not harmed.

She noted that one in every 10 patients in developing countries are harmed while receiving health care, adding that simple interventions to address the situation are not lacking in these countries.

According to her medical instruments like syringes that are not sterilised before usage in health facilities in some developing countries is as high as 70 per cent, leading to high risk of infections in patients.

She therefore called for a clear road map for quality health care and patient safety in all health systems.

Most Reverend Paul Bemile, Catholic Bishop of Wa appealed to medical professionals who hail from the region but are working in other parts of the country to think about the common diseases killing their people and abandon their “comfort zones”.

Although he was sure that motivation is not often forthcoming to stop brain drain in the region, nevertheless the doctors must emulate the few of their colleagues working in the area by coming to help.

He noted that diseases like cholera and malaria are still very common in the region and killing the people.

As a result the region may not achieve the Millennium Development Goals four and five.

Monsignor Frank Cletus Egbi, Board Chairman of CHAG appealed to the government to address the legitimate concerns of the public sector health professionals to reduce the huge pressure on Christian health facilities, during the prolonged periods of strikes.

He expressed regret that the situation that led to the withdrawal of services by CHRAG member institutions is currently developing as payment for their services by the National Health Insurance Authority is running into four months arrears.

“If we are determined to work without the participation of our partners our efforts will not yield anything,” he said.

Source: GNA

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