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 Experts advocate safety units, depts in Nigerian hospitals

WSO Deputy Director speaks on hospitals

The Deputy Director, World Safety Organisation (WSO), Dr Okunola Olusola, has advocated for the creation of safety units and departments in hospitals across the country to protect people from accidents.

Olusola, a Paediatric Neurologist from University of Benin Teaching Hospital, made the call at the first National Conference on Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) and Awards, organised by WSO on Tuesday in Oregun, Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference was sponsored by hybrid group, LoveWorld Convocation Arena, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) PLC and Julius Berger.
It was supported by INOTECH FOODS, AB-FACTOR Global Concepts Limited and Nigerian Red Cross, among others.

It is themed: “Impact of Global External Influence on HSSE practice in Nigeria’’.
According to him, safety is everywhere, but it is important it is in every health institution where there are lots of risks.

“So I am advocating that every hospital should have a safety unit and department for training and for ensuring that the environment is safe for medical workers and non-medics.
“Once this happens, coupled with the medical knowledge that the hospital may have about what they know about medical safety, the health institutions would be a very safe environment for both patients and the workers.

“Lots of people work in this sector but they may not be safe because accidents can happen just like in the construction companies.
“So anything that can happen in a construction company or in any organisation can happen within a hospital because hospitals have engineering departments, security department and other organisations inside its own complex.

“So hospitals must get on board in terms of safety, not just curative,’’ Olusola said.
The Director-General of Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Hakeem Dickson, said the state government had put in place “patient safety policy’’ to ensure patients were safe anytime they used the hospitals.
“In Lagos, we already have what is called `patient safety policy’ going on at the state hospitals where patients report to the commission about whatever mistakes the doctors or nurses must have done to them whenever they go for medical treatments.

“So the policy is aimed at developing and making sure health workers conform to safety rules and regulations regarding patients’ treatments,’’ Dickson said.
He called on the Health Facility and Accreditation Monitoring Agency (HEFAMA) to sanction any health institution that went against medical ethics.

A Safety Professional and a Pharmacist, Mrs Fayo Williams, said only a legislation would amend the lapses so far observed about safety in health institutions.
“Safety in the health sector is a multifaceted task because we have to start with a policy, having the correct kind of health and safety policy that is suited to each department and institution.
“In the hospital we have the x-ray departments, the laboratories and others; so there must be appropriate health and safety policies in all these departments and in the healthcare institutions in general.

“Afterwards, we need to appoint responsible persons and make proper organisation but with the proper political will and proper legislation with the supports of those who are at the helm of affair.
“Then we can really make some amends in terms of the safety lapses which have been observed,’’ Williams said.

The Managing Consultant of AB-FACTOR Global Concept Limited, Mr Alfred Ajao, expressed optimism that government would sign the Operational Safety and Health bill (OSH) and ensure safety consciousness among Nigerians.

According to him, governments still chase company owners to ensure safety of their workers.
“This should not be; safety should be everybody’s responsibility and that is why we say anywhere you have five people that are working, then there is need for safety policy.
“Either in the health sector, educational institution and banking halls or manufacturing company, safety is important,’’ Ajao said.

The National Coordinator of Safety Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation, Mr Dapo Omolade, expressed joy that safety organisations like WSO was in existence to sensitise people on safety.
“Nigerians should know that health and safety is about their lives.

“So I am very happy that WSO is going all out to educate the people on safety rather than waiting for government to come and punish people for killing people in workplaces.
“This is a challenge for professional members to do more awareness and get people informed about what safety is all about instead of waiting for government to come and clamp down on them,’’ Omolade said.

The President WSO Nigeria, Mr Olalokun Soji, said the organisation would extend safety to the next level to make safety a way of life for Nigerians.
“We have a vision for 2025 that one in every three Nigerians should have a safety and emergency responds readiness, meaning that, they should be able to respond to emergencies and not just to use cameras to record when they occur.

“Also they must have knowledge on how to keep themselves safe even before the emergency occurs,’’ Soji said.
Participants at the conference include health workers, chief executive officers of multinational companies across Nigeria, safety consultants, electrical engineers and students, among others. (NAN)

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