The Ministry of Health (MOH) is taking a proactive approach by initiating client satisfaction surveys in government-run hospitals, addressing growing concerns about patient mistreatment in public health facilities.
Dr. Martin Ssendyona, the Acting Commissioner of Standards, Compliance, and Patient Protection in the Ministry, emphasizes the need for these surveys to be institutionalized across all government-run facilities nationwide.
He states, “We’ve been conducting surveys based on reports from health workers, but we are planning to institutionalize client satisfaction surveys in all government-run facilities, from regional referral to general hospitals and Health Center IVs across the country. We’ve been failing.”
Ssendyona believes that these surveys will empower healthcare users to provide suggestions for improved care and report instances of ill-treatment. This initiative comes in response to the World Health Organization’s concern about the limited information on patient engagement levels in African hospitals.
Dr. Kenneth Mutesasira, the Technical Officer for Quality of Care and Service Delivery at the WHO Uganda office, recommends adopting a global patient safety action plan and creating a localized version for the national patient safety action plan.
He emphasizes the broader goal of ensuring that no one is harmed in healthcare, stating, “Most of it is straightforward.” Despite efforts to address negligence through health councils like the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, Ssendyona acknowledges the need for a proposed patient safety law.
Mutesasira emphasizes that patient safety extends beyond treatment to include ensuring the quality of drugs and enabling patients to make informed decisions about their health.
Dr. Hellen Byomire Ndagijje, responsible for product safety at the National Drug Authority (NDA), highlights ongoing efforts to combat counterfeit drugs. She mentions recent upgrades to testing laboratories to meet global standards and the establishment of a desk for drug adverse reactions.
This desk gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the public reported cases related to side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.