Ministry of Health Patient Safety Day Talking Points on COVID-19


DateUpdated on 15 September 2020
ContactCommunication Unit, MOH,  

Key messages

  1. On 17 September, we celebrate World Patient Safety Day because to realize quality health care, the first step is to do no harm, yet in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries globally, every year, there are 134 million adverse events due to unsafe care, contributing to 2.6 million lives lost.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed that to keep patients safe, health workers must be protected, and so this year’s theme is Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is presently among the biggest challenges and threats to face the world and humanity, and health care is living its greatest crisis in patient safety ever.  Health systems can only function with health workers, and a knowledgeable, skilled and motivated health workforce is critical for the provision of safe care to patients.
  • Considering the ongoing challenges, a key activity of the global campaign for World Patient Safety Day 2020 focuses on: lighting up a prominent monument, public space, or natural feature in orange as a gesture of respect and gratitude to all health workers, to recognize the essential work health workers do.

Why was the World Safety Day established?

As a part of the global action on patient safety, the 72nd World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on 24th May 2019 to address global patient safety in a concerted manner. Part of this resolution was the adoption of 17th September as a World Patient Safety Day.

By having a World Patient Safety Day, we can prioritize and address patient safety through global solidarity and concerted action from all member countries, stakeholders, patients and international partners. This approach is similar to our Patient Solidarity Day, where we involve the entire community and all government actors in the effort.

Global observance of WPSD aims to:

  • Raise awareness of patient safety issues globally
  • Enhance global understanding on the central role of patient safety in achieving Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Encourage development of systems and procedures for the elimination of all avoidable health care related harm to patients, and management of risks in health care 
  • Encourage governments to commit to and support the implementation of strategies for ensuring patient safety, managing risks and fostering supportive, learning cultures  
  • Strengthen collaboration and partnerships at global, regional, national and local levels for implementing patient safety strategies and for improving safety of health care
  • Highlight specific patient safety themes such as Medication Safety, Education and Training in Patient Safety, Reporting and learning systems, and Patient Engagement 

Situation of Patient Safety in Liberia

  • Baseline assessment of patient safety in 42% (16) health facilities demonstrated poor standards of safety (47% average score) in our health facilities,
  • Weak areas highlighted for the survey: 1) patient safety surveillance and research, 2) medication safety, 3) surgical care and 4) patient safety funding

Ongoing efforts on Patient Safety

  • Establishment of the Quality Management |Unit at the Ministry of Health
  • Quarterly hand hygiene audits at healthcare facilities
  • Development of the National IPC guidelines
  • Establishment of quality teams at the facility level
  • Regular supervision and mentorship and mentorship of health facilities on IPC across the country
  • Development of the National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
  • National launch of the 3rd Global Safety Challenge, “Medication without harm”

Needed actions to improve patient safety in Liberia

  • Development of protocol for implementation of surgical site infection surveillance
  • Established Infection Prevention and Control Program at all levels of the Healthcare System with IPC guidelines,
  • Annual commemoration of IPC Week, Global Hand washing Days to raise awareness and improve Patient Safety,
  • Provide periodic training on patient safety best practices for health workers,
  • Ensure the availability of Infection prevention control supplies in all healthcare facilities in the country,
  • Emphasize patient safety and quality in training curriculum for health care professionals in Liberia (WHO Patient Safety Curriculum – multi-professional edition, can be adapted).

Signed: _______________________________________

           Felecia Gbesioh

          Director of Communication, MOH

MOH Receives Medical Consignments from WHO

(Monrovia, Liberia, September 2, 2020)—the Ministry of Health (MOH) has received medical consignments of Human Insulin and Glucagon for the treatment of Diabetes Mellitus in the Country. The assorted medical supplies were donated by the World Health Organization on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, to help boost the fight against the noxious Coronavirus pandemic in the Country. Some victims of the virus suffer diabetes; therefore, the consignment will be sent to treatment units and other government medical facilities across the Country. 

Human insulin is the name that describes synthetic insulin which is laboratory grown to mimic the insulin in humans, and glucagon is a medication and hormone. As a medication, it is used to treat low blood sugar, beta-blocker overdose, calcium channel blocker overdose, and those with anaphylaxis who do not improve with epinephrine. 

Diabetes Mellitus (DM), commonly known as diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by a high blood sugar level over a prolonged period. The unavailability of Insulin can lead to life complications as ketoacidosis, blindness, kidney failure, or heart attack.

The value of the consignments is put at approximately US$16,610.00 to be used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus in support of the COVID-19 strategic preparation and response plan (SPRP). 

This donation, accordingly, is part of WHO’s efforts to ensure increased access to essential health services, including improved and more equitable access to health products.

Receiving the items on behalf of the government of H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah and the National COVID­-19 Team, Liberian Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah thanked the World Health organization, AFRO, and partners for helping Liberia in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic since its outbreak in March. “On behalf of my president, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, I want to use this occasion to extend thanks and appreciation to WHO, AFRO, and partners for continuously supporting us throughout this fight.”

The Minister, who has been determined in the fight against the venomous Coronavirus, said that the PAR machine found in the package will be used by lab technicians for improving lab collection activities.

“These instruments are delivered for our diabetes patients—and it is also connected in line with those who’re venerable to COVID-19. The instruments will keep them and will keep their blood sugar normal. “We will distribute these instruments to various government facilities free of charge”, she vowed. 

However, the consignments will be sent to the Center Medical Store (CMS) for safekeeping before its onward distribution across the Country.

Meanwhile, the WHO Country Representative for Liberia, Dr. Peter Clement, has reaffirmed the World Health Body’s ceaseless support and Commitment to the George Weah-led government, particularly in the health sector.

While turning over the medical items to the Ministry, he said: “I am very happy to turn over these items to the government and the Ministry of Health. This donation is part of the WHO assignment’s effort in the health sector. It is a global distribution, but this is particularly for Liberia. We appreciate the strong partnership co-existence between the Liberian government and us. we are proud to be part of this endeavor—an unprecedented collaboration.”  

Health Ministry, Partners Conclude Free Surgical Outreach In Buchanan

(Buchanan City, Grand Bassa) The Ministry of Health (MOH) and Samaritan’s Purse in collaboration with New Sight Eye Center over the weekend concluded a free Medical and surgical outreach in the Port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, as a way of eradicating blindness among people in the Country.

The exercise which began on August 17 -28 at the Liberia Government Hospital Eye Center did not only attract patients within the County to the Eye Hospital but also gathered patients from surrounding counties of Grand Bassa, including Margibi, Rivercess, and Sinoe Counties. Patients who were booked outside of the port city of Buchanan were trucked by Samaritan Purse, enabling them free access to the facility.

According to the Ministry’s statement, the influx of patients—close to two thousand—was predicated upon massive awareness initially created by the Ministry and partners, who believe the lives of citizen matter.

The cost of the free medical and surgical eye operation which is put at around US$15,000.00 was funded by Samaritan’s Purse, while New Sight Eye Center served as an implementing partner. 

Making a brief statement on behalf of the government and the Ministry, Dr. Joseph Kerkulah, National Eye Health Program Director of MOH, said: “A total of 281 cases were booked; out of the number, 256 were cataracts while 25 were relatively inconsequential eye related cases.”

As a result of high sun rays which could hamper newly regained sight persons, Dr. Kerkulah said they have distributed marque new sunglasses among the patients to resist the sunray.

He, however, lauded Samaritan’s Purse and the New Sight Eye Center for unremittingly buttressing government’s efforts during these times of pandemic, and reassumed the government’s commitment and collaboration with partners to providing and delivering quality health services for all Liberians. “The Lion Club-Liberia is sponsoring about ten eye surgeons currently. Upon their graduation, they will be assigned to most of our hospitals across the Country to particularly treat patients with blindness,” he indicated.

The Ministry’s press statement further noted that most people who regained new sight were adults, constituting about 95% of the total number of patients who underwent the surgical operation.

“Now I can see people from distance—anywhere you stand I will see you”, Rufus K. Jomah, 73, explained following a successful surgical eye operation. “Firestone retired me because I did barely see people images as a truck driver, therefore I requested for retirement.” 

The surgical outreach ended with a program, with supporting and implementing partners using the occasion to appreciate the government for providing them the space to contribute to humanity, especially in the Country’s health sector.


Felecia Gbesioh

Director of Communication, MOH