By Linda Ike
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has cautioned Nigerians on the dangers of self medications, saying it causes incorrect self diagnosis and delays in seeking medical advice from health professionals.
Dr. Ehanire gave the warning on Saturday during awareness campaign walk to mark the 2022 World Patient Safety Day in Abuja with the theme: “Medication Safety, Medication without Harm’.
He said, the campaign walk is to educate the general public and raise consciousness on medication related errors and unsafe practices.
The Minister who was represented by the Director and Head of Department of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi condemned the habit of people buying drugs for treatment of any illness without being prescribed by doctors or qualified health personnel.
“We are using this medium to sensitise the entire populace. t is not enough for one to have headache and buy paracetamol and Panadol from the pharmacy.
“You need to have a knowledge of the underlined condition, what is giving you that headache, you need to be examined and diagnosed by a health professional to know what exactly is the problem.
“We are also sensitising the health care professionals too carry out best practices” he said.
Dr. Ehanire disclosed that there is a regulatory bodies that handle the issues of malpractice on health matters in the country, stating that any case that was reported to the body would be sanctioned according to the law.
“We have regulatory bodies and they know what to do once any of these malpractices are reported to them .
There is also an investigative panel and there is a tribunal that tries cases on malpractices. Off course, anyone found guilty will be sanctioned according to the law.” The minister stated.
Ehi Idem, patient Safety Ambassador, Patient Safety Movement Foundation said Patient safety medication is one of the leading causes of death in the healthcare facilities noting that 50 percent of the cause of death in healthcare is on medication safety.
“A number of people have died and the case is even under reported, all we’re doing today is to create advocacy, awareness and engage stakeholders in possible ways that we can manage medical safety
“Many families have loss their loved ones and through preventable harm or death that is coming from medication safety.
He said it is right of patients to know the name of drug given to them and to raise alarm if there is contract indication.
He also stressed the need for empowerment of patients and patients’ relatives on what to do.
“We are not talking about patient alone, patient relatives should be at the centre of this. Why because patients are sick.
“They might not be able to administer the drugs by themselves. Patient Family has to understand this drug. So there’s need to engage everyone and empower them on what to do”, he said.
On his part, a Health Consultant and Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Federal University of Health Science, Otukpo, Professor Stephen Abah said Nigeria is currently drafting policies on patient safety of Nigeria and worldwide
He said that the issue of medication error has taking a centre stage especially as this year’s theme focused on safety medication.
Abah noted that in Nigeria, people can buy over the counter drugs, urging Nigerians to desist from such habit.
He said, “We need to educate Nigerians on the dangers been inherent with this kind of practice.
” You need to know the drugs you are consuming, the consequences of these drugs
“We need to empower patients, individuals and families, so that they can ask the right questions on the kind of medications they are been given.
“And today WHO wants to raise awareness not only in our country, but globally.
He further said that the bill of Rights for patient’s questioning was one thing but a policy was needed to drive the action of regulators, Government, individuals, stakeholders.
According to him, WHO would participate to ensure that every medication that one takes, anywhere in this country, there would be rules and regulations guiding it,
” The bill emphasises the role of the various stakeholders, government, the individual and families
“We need to empowers them in terms of increasing knowledge and also empowers them in terms of funding for certain aspects of medication safety.
Recalled that WHO had lamented that African leads in countries that has the highest number of counterfeit drugs.
It also.decried that 3m people die of medication errors globally every year.
Cureentnews.com.ng reports that WHO is taken the menace very seriously and Nigeria is trying to domesticate some of the policies of WHO and that of the African Health Organisation to be part of the global movement.