The health ministry has said reducing harm to patients is, and will remain a critical part of all their interventions, hence they are working together to ensure that every patient in Namibia receives high-quality care without harm.
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said one of the top priorities of the ministry is to ensure the safety of patients at all times and to guarantee a positive experience for all persons who visit or present at a health facility for, treatment, care, follow-up, or any other reason. “Engaging patients in their care means involving and engaging them fully, and informing them adequately in the decisions about their treatment which means taking into account their views, and valuing their perspectives on their health,” said Shangula yesterday during the observance of World Patient Safety Day.
Shangula said: “Evidence shows that when patients are consulted and informed about the decisions concerning their care, significant gains are made concerning safety, patient satisfaction, and improved health outcomes. When, within reasonable parameters, patients are afforded the space to engage with the healthcare team, the safety of their care and that of the healthcare system as a whole is enhanced.” He said the ministry is implementing different interventions aimed at enhancing the modalities to engage patients in the provision of healthcare they receive. “This started in 2017 by engaging People Living with HIV (PLWHIV) as experts in care.
The perspectives they have been able to provide have proven invaluable, thereby contributing to the attainment of significant milestones by Namibia in the national HIV/AIDS response,” he said. Patient and family engagement is a pivotal strategy to advance safety in healthcare. As users of the healthcare system with first-hand experience of the entire patient journey, the perspectives of patients, families and caregivers are invaluable in improving patient safety. The impact of meaningful patient engagement is remarkable, with studies showing a potential reduction in the burden of harm by up to 15%, saving countless lives and billions of dollars each year. The World Health Organisation observes World Patient Safety Day, further signifying calls for global solidarity and concerted action by all countries and international partners to improve patient safety annually on 17 September.