The Nigerian government has warned the public to desist from taking drugs without a prescription, saying self-medication poses a great danger to their health.
Speaking during a walk to commemorate the 2022 World Patient Safety Day on Saturday, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said self-medication poses more danger to the human body than the ailment itself.
Represented by the Director of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Adebimpe Adebiyi, he said the walk is to sensitise the entire populace to desist from the harmful act.
“It is not enough for you to have headache and grab paracetamol or panadol from the pharmacy.
“Although it is an out-of-the-counter medication, one still needs to know the underlying condition,” he said.
Mr Ehanire said the day is marked to sensitise the public, including healthcare professionals, to ensure they carry out best health practices.
The walk was organised by the health ministry in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
World Patient Safety Day
World Patient Safety Day is celebrated on 17 September every year with a focus on “medication without harm”.
The campaign which started in 2017 calls on stakeholders to prioritise and take early action in key areas associated with significant patient harm due to unsafe medication practices.
These include high-risk situations, transitions of care, and concurrent use of multiple medications amongst others.
Globally, one in 20 patients suffers avoidable medication harm and unsafe medication practices, the WHO said during a briefing to commemorate the day.
The Director-General of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said medication errors account for half of all avoidable harm in medical care.
Mr Ghebreyesus said although medicines are powerful tools for protecting health, they can cause serious harm when wrongly prescribed, taken incorrectly, or are of poor quality.
Speaking during the walk, a community physician and patient safety consultant, Stephen Emoh, noted that the government is currently drafting a policy on patient safety for Nigeria.
Mr Abah said patient safety is taking centre stage globally.
“We need to educate Nigerians on the danger inherent in this kind of practice. You need to know the drugs you are consuming, the consequences and empower patients’ families so that they can ask questions on the kind of medications they are given.”
He said today’s walk is to raise awareness globally of the danger of self-medicating.
Similarly, a patient safety ambassador, Ehi Eden, said medication safety has become a critical issue globally as it is one of the leading causes of death in healthcare.
Mr Eden said about 50 per cent of deaths are from medication safety.
He said such cases are underreported hence the need to create more advocacy, and awareness and engage stakeholders in possible ways to manage medication safety.
He said many families have lost their loved ones through preventable ways caused by medication safety.
“He that has to live has no reason to die due to error caused by medication safety,” he said.
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