Health worker safety paramount for patient safety

– especially during COVID-19 pandemic

Guyana has made several advances over the years to ensure the safety of patients, even as it recognises that health worker safety is a priority for patient safety.

This was relayed by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Shamdeo Persaud during a special Zoominar held to observe World Patient Safety Day on Wednesday.

“The Ministry has been working with a number of stakeholders to prepare what is called our patient charter; that determines both the roles and responsibilities of the providers, but also the recipient,” the Health Ministry official stated.  

Dr. Persaud highlighted the extent to which healthcare officials have been risking their lives to serve the population during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 82 healthcare workers, including medics, doctors and nurses, have been infected with the disease, two of whom have since died.

Dr. Persaud and Head of the General Surgery Department at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Dr. Navindranauth Rambaran, agreed that shortfalls in patient care could also occur when patients are misdiagnosed, fail to use their medications in the prescribed manner or fail to use them at all.

Maternal and Child Health Officer, Dr. Oneka Scott, said in her field, patients’ negligence often contributes to their poor care.  She added that too often pregnant women may experience symptoms such as spotting, bleeding, or other issues that point to threatening conditions and ignore the signs.

“The delay to seek care, to identify that there is an emergency in your pregnancy; the delay to identify that there is an emergency right after you deliver, the ignoring of symptoms and signs […] sadly has caused… some amount of lives lost,” she said.

Although there has been a recorded decrease in maternal deaths, Dr. Scott said, “This is still not in keeping with the target set out to be achieved by the Sustainable Development Goal Three. So, there’s still much emphasis that needs to be placed on those reasons that continue to contribute to a woman, family, father or spouse not accessing care when they need to.”

She urged the public to prioritise their health to avoid experiencing severe health conditions as they get older.

This year, World Patient Safety Day is being observed under the theme “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety.”

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COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.