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Medication errors under-reported in Nigeria – FG

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire has enjoined Nigerians to report medication errors among health care professionals to relevant Medical Councils and health regulatory bodies, lamenting that medication errors are under-reported in the country.

The Health Minister stated this at a press briefing in collaboration with the World Health Organisation to mark this year’s World Patient Safety Day in Abuja.

What did the minister say?

Ehanire, who was represented by the Director of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Adebimpe Adebiyi, disclosed that the government was working towards launching the National Policy and Strategy on patient safety and quality care, adding that the federal government is putting strategies in place for the reduction of severe preventable medication-related harm by 50% in the next five years.  

He said the reduction would be by making improvements at each stage of the medication process, including prescribing, dispensing, administering, monitoring and use.

He also revealed that the high incidence of major medication errors related to prescription of incorrect antiretroviral therapy(ATR), protocol, and potential drug-drug interaction in Nigeria’s HIV treatment program have been reported in the past, adding that the incidence of medication error was somewhat high with majorly identified errors related to prescription of incorrect ART regimens and potential drug-drug interactions.

On his part, Representative of WHO in Nigeria Walter Mulombo, who was also represented by Country Deputy Representative, Alex Chimbaru said 42 billion dollars of the total health expenditure worldwide could be averted if medication errors are addressed.

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What you should know

The United States Food and Drugs Administration, FDA, citing National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention defines Medication Error “as any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient or consumer”.

A study conducted by Ogunleye et at al on medication errors amongst health care professionals in 10 tertiary hospitals across the country showed 35.5% of 2386 professionals that participated in the study reported medication error, while 33,4% did not think reporting was necessary.

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