Nigerian govt warns against self-medication


The Nigerian government has warned the public against taking medicines without a prescription as self-medication poses a serious risk to their health.

During a walk to commemorate World Patient Safety Day 2022 on Saturday, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said self-medication poses a greater danger to the human body than the disease itself.

Represented by the Director of Hospital Services of the Federal Ministry of Health, Adebimpe Adebiyi, he said the walk should raise awareness among the entire population to refrain from the harmful act.

“It’s not enough that you have a headache and get Paracetamol or Panadol from the pharmacy.

“Even though it’s a prescription drug, you still need to know the underlying condition,” he said.

Mr Ehanire said the day is dedicated to raising awareness among the public, including healthcare professionals, to ensure they are adopting the best health practices.

The walk was organized by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO).

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World Patient Safety Day

World Patient Safety Day is celebrated every year on September 17th with a focus on “Drugs Without Harm”.

Launched in 2017, the campaign calls on stakeholders to prioritize and take early action on key areas associated with significant patient harm from unsafe medication practices.

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These include, but are not limited to, high-risk situations, care transitions, and taking multiple medications at the same time.

A walk organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with the World Health Organization to mark World Patient Safety Day 2022 in Abuja on Saturday
A walk organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with the World Health Organization to mark World Patient Safety Day 2022 in Abuja on Saturday

Globally, one in 20 patients suffers from preventable drug harm and unsafe medication practices, the WHO said during a briefing to commemorate the day.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said that medication errors account for half of all preventable harm in healthcare.

Mr Ghebreyesus said that while medicines are effective tools to protect health, they could cause serious harm if wrongly prescribed, wrongly taken or of poor quality.

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patient safety

During the walk, community doctor and patient safety adviser Stephen Emoh said the government is currently drafting a patient safety policy for Nigeria.

Mr Abah said patient safety is a priority around the world.

“We need to educate Nigerians about the dangers of this type of practice. You need to know the drugs you are using and the consequences, and empower patients’ families to ask questions about the types of drugs they are being given.”

He said today’s walk was intended to raise awareness around the world of the dangers of self-medication.

Similarly, a Patient Safety Ambassador, Ehi Eden, said drug safety has become a critical issue worldwide as it is one of the leading causes of healthcare-related deaths.

Mr Eden said about 50 per cent of deaths are due to drug safety.

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He said such cases are underreported, so there is a need to create more advocacy and awareness and involve stakeholders in possible ways to manage drug safety.

He said many families have lost loved ones in preventable ways caused by drug safety.

“Whoever needs to live has no reason to die because of mistakes made by drug safety,” he said.


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