Medication Errors Kill 3m Annually – WHO Laments

The World Health Organization, WHO has said medication errors contribute to more than three million deaths globally every year.

Its Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, made the declaration in her message to mark the 2022 World Patient Safety Day.

Moeti said the Days aims at raising awareness of the importance of people-centred care and preventing harm to patients.

She noted that medication errors were exacerbated by overwhelmed health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to her, about one in every four cases of preventable medication harm is clinically severe, or life-threatening.

“While there is limited data for the African continent, it is generally acknowledged that there is a high magnitude of unsafe medication practices.

“Medication errors occur because of weaknesses in medication systems and are aggravated by shortages of well-trained health staff and poor working and environmental conditions for delivery of quality healthcare.

“Among low and medium-income countries, the African region has the highest prevalence of substandard and counterfeit medicines of about 18.7 per cent,’’ NAN quoted her as saying.

She decried the administration of surplus medication at home; the purchase of medication from pharmacies on the advice of friends and relatives rather than on prescription by trained professionals.

Moeti stressed that the use of old prescriptions to buy medication to treat a current ailment is a common practice that should be stopped.

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