Oman steps for safety of patients hailed
September 17, 2019 | 7:23 PM
by Times News Service
Muscat: Oman’s “360- degree” approach to patient safety has been praised by a leading medical expert.
Speaking at the first International Patient Safety Day, Dr Akjemal Magtymova, World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Oman, said that the Sultanate is doing well in terms of patient safety.
Dr. Magtimova also highlighted Oman’s leading role, saying: “Today we are celebrating World Patient Safety Day for the first time globally but in Oman for the second time, as Oman was ahead of other countries in establishing its National Patient Safety Day on 17 September 2018, the date that was also kept for the worldwide commemoration of this day, starting on Tuesday.
“We gather today to celebrate Oman’s achievements in Patient Safety. In August 2018, the MoH Quality Assurance Centre was designated as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Training, the result of tireless work over the years,”
Magtymova told Times of Oman: “Medications have interactions with one another and can cause adverse effects based on the condition. The government of Oman and the MoH are taking various strategies to prevent the adverse effects of polypharmacy, when lots of medications have to be prescribed for one person. These include setting up standards of care and prescriptions, making sure that the medicines are used rationally. They are also training medical professionals, nurses and caregivers, as well as gathering systematic research on the effects of certain types of medication."
“They are also evaluating the quality of care in different facilities. When an individual gets sick, it is not only one doctor or nurse who takes care of him, but a group of people including family members. So, it is also important to make sure that family members are aware of medications and what effects they have on the patient. Regular visits to the professionals are also important,” Dr. Magtimova said.
“I think all of these strategies in a 360-degree approach are being utilized by Oman,” Dr. Magtimova added.
According to Oman’s Minister of Health, patient safety procedures should become a standard in hospitals.
Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Saidi, the Minister of Health, said: “Patient safety is not an event, it is not a workshop. It is a way of practicing healthcare and it should be implemented in every healthcare facility everywhere and at all times. “Unfortunately, over 2.5 million people die every year worldwide because of events that happen in healthcare facilities. Most of these can and should be prevented.”
“This is an awareness programme for workers in healthcare facilities and the public as well, to be champions of patient safety” he added.
According to him, Oman was the country which suggested a patient safety day to the World Health Organisation.
He said: “ We celebrate the first international patient safety day and Oman’s second national patient safety day. Oman pioneered this and suggested in 2016 that the world should have one day a year when we emphasize patient safety, and the WHO adopted that suggestion this year.
“Also, Oman was chosen by the WHO in September last year to have a patient safety and quality centre collaborating with them” he added.
Dr Al Sariri added that the WHO has upheld Oman for its work in patient safety.
“In August of 2018, Oman was recognized for its collaborative work in patient safety with the WHO.
Since the end of 2015, we have been working at the Quality Assurance Centre to implement the Patient Safety Friendly Hospital initiative. We have accomplished it in around 28 facilities, 11 of which have already passed the final assessment of the WHO, and 15 which are preparing for the final assessment. These are not only government sector, but in the private sector as well.”
According to a statement by the ministry, “During the celebration, the hospitals that implemented the Patient Safety Friendly Hospitals Initiative (PSFHI) in 2018 have been honoured namely; Sur Hospital, Sinaw Hospital and Khasab Hospital.”
One of the themes of Patient Safety day was polypharmacy, the concept of taking many medications at the same time. This saw Oman’s Ministry of Health launch its ‘polypharmacy’ initiative which aims “to develop mechanisms in order to involve and enable patients to handle their own medications safely, as well as to reduce polypharmacy for the elderly.”
Dr Qamra al Sariri, director general of the Quality Assurance Centre told Times of Oman: “Polypharmacy has a huge importance as we focus on the type of medication given to our patients. We work hand in hand with the government and the private sector to encourage a culture of not overprescribing medication.
“This is about ensuring the safety of the patients, not simply the reduction of medications, but to at least reduce the number of interactions between medications and the adverse effects,” she added.
According to her, people have a role to play in polypharmacy by being honest with their doctors about their conditions and how many medications they are already taking.
She said: “I need to encourage the public that when they come to the health centres, they need to mention to their doctors what amount of medication and they take and at what time. It really is very essential. That way, healthcare professionals can discuss the medication and plan for that specific case itself,” she added.