Speak up for health worker safety

Azlan Othman

The Ministry of Health (MoH) marks the World Patient Safety Day every September 17. It was officiated during the 72nd World Health Assembly in May last year with ‘Global Action On Patient Safety’ declaration of resolution.

The celebration aimed to enhance global understanding on patient safety and public involvement in healthcare safety as well as promoting actions at international level to lessen dangers towards patients based on ‘First, do no harm’ principle.

These were highlighted by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar in his message to mark the occassion.

The message further says, this year, stressing on healthcare safety is crucial to face COVID-19 challenges and threats.

“Safety concept must be seen in a broader perspective. COVID-19 pandemic has shown how health workers are exposed to these risks and the importance of healthcare system in maintaining the country’s function, in line with ‘I Stay at Work for You, You Stay at Home for Us’ tagline.

“The pandemic also gave pressure on health system globally. The health system can only function properly if the health workers are knowledgeable, skillful and motivated to provide safer service.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar. PHOTO: MOH
ABOVE & BELOW: The Jerudong Park (JP) Diamond and the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha Bridge lit up as a show of support for World Patient Safety Day. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“The MoH supports the World Health Organization’s (WHO) call to ‘Speak up for health worker safety!’ to emphasise on safety culture for health workers through the establishment of Event Reporting System.

“The online reporting system has been implemented since February last year under the management of Quality, Governance and Innovation Office of the ministry with the support of the Patient Safety Unit at health facilities under the National Committee on Quality and Patient Safety.

“Reporting any incidence is voluntary and accessible by health workers.

“The aim of the reporting system is to provide an easy, fast and safe platform for staff to report incidences or issues related to work ethics to improve services. To date, the system has received 4,000 reports from health facilities nationwide.

“It showed several shortfalls in patient and staff safety due to the lack of staff, resources in terms of protection equipment, not adhering to policy and standard operating procedures, unsafe working environment and so on.

“What is more alarming is the high rate of violent incidences towards health workers.

“It is regrettable to note that health workers have to face such violent incidences when treating patients. Hence it is timely for health workers to be respected and recognised by all parties. Among the initiatives taken by the ministry is the implementation of the International Patient Safety Goals (IPSG) policy led by the National Committee on Quality and Patient Safety.

“Goals outlined under the IPSG focusses on issues regularly faced by health facilities globally. Six aspirations are outlined – Correct Patient Identification; Effective Communication; Management of High Alert Medication; Safe Surgery; Hand Hygiene; and  Falls Prevention.

“The MoH has implemented three out of six aspirations and policies while the rest are still under amendment. The public is urged to cooperate and abide to safety policies set by the ministry.

“The public can also assist in reminding health workers to practise these policies.

“COVID-19 pandemic poses greater challenges to health workers worldwide including our nation.

“However, the health industry perseveres in facing these challenges and always plays a role to ensure quality of service and safety is upheld.”

Meanwhile, the Jerudong Park (JP) Diamond and Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha Bridge were lit up as a gesture of respect and show of gratitude to health workers in conjunction with the global campaign.