Annually in the country, errors in the prescription of medications; in or out of the hospital accounts for 7,000 deaths.

Adverse drug effects cause more than 70,000 injuries and deaths each year and cost 5.6 million dollars per hospital.

Mr. Eric Owusu, a clinical training consultant, made the disclosure at a clinical training for nursing staff of Cocoa Clinics throughout the country in Accra on Monday.

The 15-day skilled-based training programme, is being organized by the Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in collaboration with QHT Consultancy International of the United King

The theme of the workshop is: “Developing Tools for Assessing Staff Competency on Drug Administration.”

It is designed to meet the clinical needs of both patients and practitioners, ensure safety of patients, and maintain high professional standards of care to Clients and legal requirements of the employer.

Mr. Owusu said: “Medication errors constitute the most frequent medical error worldwide harming at least 1.5 million people every year” and added that patients who suffer unintended drug effects remain in the hospital for eight to 12 days longer than patients who did not experience such mistakes.

According to Mr. Owusu, these additional days cost affected patients between 16,000 dollars and 24,000 dollars more.

He told the nurses that the quality of care provided by them was a central component of the success of the healthcare system as well as the outcome of patients’ healthcare.

Mr. Owusu, therefore, charged the participants to let the skills and competence acquired through the training reflect positively on the quality of services they would provide to their clients by combining the knowledge, new skills and right attitude to work to improve the quality of patients’ health outcomes.

In an address read on his behalf, Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah, acting Chief Executive of COCOBOD, cautioned patients to avoid drug interactions, such as taking several different medicines explaining that this makes drugs less effective and harmful to the body.

“Reading the label every time you use a nonprescription or prescription drug and taking time to learn about drug interactions may be critical to one’s health,” he said.

Dr. Adu-Ampomah urged nurses and other health professionals to beware of their responsibilities and roles whenever administering drugs to avoid the situation where patients would challenge their competency.

He advised the participants to use the programme to bridge the skill deficiency gap in the provision of quality customer focused healthcare delivery.

Source: The Ghanaian Times/Ghana