The Ministry of Health (MOH) has embarked on conducting client satisfaction surveys in government-run hospitals amidst piling condemnation of how patients are ill-treated when they visit public health facilities.
Dr Martin Ssendyona, the Ag. Commissioner Standards, Compliance, and Patient Protection in the Ministry says that they have been doing such surveys depending on the reports that the ministry gets from health workers but they are planning to institutionalize client satisfaction surveys in all government-run facilities from regional referral to general hospitals and Heath center IVs across the country.
Ssendyona who said these surveys will enable healthcare users to offer suggestions for better care or report ill-treatment revealed this shortly after the World Health Organization raised red flags that there is limited information on levels of patient engagement in hospitals in many countries in Africa.
Dr Kenneth Mutesasira, the Technical Officer for Quality of Care and Service Delivery at the WHO Uganda office says that the ministry needs to adopt the global patient safety action plan from, which they can frame a localized version for the national patient safety action plan to guide them. The bigger aim he says is to ensure that no one gets harmed in healthcare.
However, Ssendyona says they have been relying on health councils such as the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council to bring to book healthcare workers who act negligently. He also noted that there’s a proposed patient safety law that is being compiled.
But, according to Mutesasira, patient safety doesn’t stop at how patients are handled when they visit health facilities and involves going a long way to ensure that the drugs they take are of good quality and they can make key decisions that affect their health. Some of the concerns that have already been raised by advocates in the country are in line with drug quality and awareness of where to go when one gets affected by the medications they are taking.
On her part, Dr Hellen Byomire Ndagijje who is in charge of product safety at the National Drug Authority (NDA), says that they are fighting counterfeit drugs having recently revamped their testing laboratories to meet global standards. When it comes to drug adverse reactions, they have set up a desk that receives such complaints, and action is usually taken depending on the complaints received. This desk she says became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic when the public started reporting cases related to side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.