The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has advised health workers to give equal attention to every patient that comes to their facilities as if they were a staff or relative of staff because “the patient you come across today may be the person holding the keys to your dream in life”.
The Minister, who said he was himself a beneficiary of similar gestures, explained that sometimes patients hold the key to health workers’ future or development and, therefore, must be treated specially.
Dr. Okoe Boye gave the advice when he addressed a durbar last week Thursday at the fore court of the Oncology Department at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), in Kumasi, to mark ‘Patient Safety Awareness Day’.
He said as a medical doctor himself, he is aware that some patients can be difficult or rude but admonished the healthcare workers to rather see their work in the hospitals as an opportunity to build bridges with people.
The Deputy Health Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ledzokuku Constituency, stated that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore safety issues that confront health workers and added that government responded by providing enough PPEs and also ensured that all health workers were exempted from tax payments, as a token of motivation.
Dr. Okoe Boye appealed to the Quality Assurance unit of KATH to take customer complaints seriously and share outcomes of same with the public.
He also proposed front desk customer service as pertained in the hospitality sector to engage with patients so that they know what they should expect in the consulting rooms or in the wards.
He said it was proper for the health worker to ensure self-safety first in order to ensure safety of the patient and congratulated all health workers for standing up for the country during the pandemic.
Prof. Baafuor Kofi Opoku, Medical Director at KATH, explained that patient safety is the “prevention of harm to patients and freedom from accidental or preventable injuries produced by medical care”.
He said quality health care delivery was a top priority of KATH management which led to the establishment of the quality assurance unit at the hospital since 2003 to receive patient complaints and address same including guidelines on managing patients.
Prof. Baafuor intimated that 7 to 10 percent of all hospitalised patients acquire one form of infection or the other, which can be reduced drastically by simple hand hygiene and suggested that decline in diarrheal diseases and upper respiratory tract infections in several hospitals in the past few months may have something to do with the current hand hygiene practices.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Simon Osei-Mensh, in a brief remark said the region was second highest in terms of COVID -19 infections in the country, but the mortality rate was quite low in the region and commended all health workers in the region for their handling of the pandemic.
He advised the health professionals to see any health seeker as a human being seeking care and emphasised that they avoid discriminative care and give every patient the optimum care needed.
From Thomas Agbenyegah Adzey, Kumasi