The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has called on stakeholders to ensure safe working procedures, safe working environment and improved working conditions for health professionals.
It also asked for specialized occupational health services and insurance coverage against occupational injuries and diseases for all health professionals, including Pharmacists.
This was contained in a statement signed by Benjamin Kwame Botwe, the President of the PSGH to mark the 2020 World Patient Safety Day on the theme “Health Worker Safety, a Priority for Patient Safety.”
“We strongly believe that the safety of the patient is inseparable and perhaps indistinguishable from the provision of high-quality pharmaceutical care across all practice settings.
That is why we are delighted to endorse the establishment of the World Patient Safety Day,” the statement said.
The statement said the global effort to achieve Quality Universal Health coverage by 2030 can only be fruitful when there is affordable access to safe, effective and quality medicines and health products.
Globally, about 40% of patients are harmed in primary and outpatient healthcare, mostly by preventable errors related to diagnosis, prescription and the use of medicines.
“This reiterates the indispensable role of the pharmacist, who is the expert on medicines, in ensuring patient safety,” it said.
World Patient Safety Day calls for concerted action by all stakeholders to improve patient safety, however, this cannot be improved without the safety of the healthcare provider.
In Ghana, the pharmacist to population ratio is about 1:15000 far below the WHO recommendation of 1:2000.
This, coupled with other institutional and economic challenges means that pharmacists are faced with many workplace hazards, which were particularly amplified during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Pharmacists in their line of duty may be exposed to psychosocial risks (such as high work load, stress, emotional and verbal abuse from aggrieved patients), biological hazards (such as the novel coronavirus, other infectious diseases and associated stigma), chemical hazards (from exposure to chemicals used in laboratories and manufacturing or compounding procedures), ergonomical hazards (due to poor quality infrastructure design and lack of safe working tools and environments).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 12.2 million people, mostly in developing countries, die from non-communicable diseases while still of active working age. Moreover, 7 in 10 active workers, including health professionals do not have insurance packages to protect them against work-related diseases and injuries.
“Consequently, the PSGH believe pragmatic measures that assure the safety and safeguard the health of all health professionals are not only imperative but long overdue. Implementing system changes and practices are crucial to improve safety at all levels of health care,” it added.