MOPH Launches A National Medication Safety Program
The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) announced that it is working on developing and implementing a national medication safety program, in cooperation with the WHO Office in Qatar and the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, with the participation of all stakeholders from the health and academic sectors in addition to the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector as well as patient representatives.
The program aims to develop a national plan for a medication safety program, which is one of the important projects within the second national health strategy 2018-2022, and the third national health strategy. The program also aims to identify priorities and gaps with regard to medication safety systems and practices, in line with the "Medication Without Harm" challenge launched by the World Health Organization in 2017, which is one of the global challenges launched by WHO for patient safety. These kinds of programs are essentially change-driven programs aimed at introducing improvements and reducing risks in health systems.
It is worth mentioning that the State of Qatar has pledged to participate in the implementation of the third challenge by signing the pledge document with the World Health Organization.
The "Medication Without Harm" challenge aims to reduce the harms caused by unsafe practices and errors in the use of medication, by focusing on improving medication safety, and strengthening the systems necessary to reduce the incidence of errors in the field and the resulting harms that can be avoided by 50 percent over the next five years.
The National Medication Safety Program includes several phases, including a set of planned procedures, the national policy and the action plan to be developed to ensure medication safety in the State of Qatar.
The national program is based on four pillars: patients and the public; health care workers; dealing with medicines as products; and systems and practices.
The program aims to develop interventions and improvements at every stage of the medication use process including prescribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring to ensure that the medication safety principles are applied at the heart of its business in all public and private healthcare facilities.
The first phase of the program was implemented from April to June of this year by performing situation analysis to medication safety in the State of Qatar. Meetings were held with representatives of concerned departments of the Ministry of Public Health, such as Healthcare Quality, Pharmacy and Drug Control, Healthcare Professions, Healthcare Facilities, E-health, Financing and Health Insurance, Strategic Planning, Performance and Innovation.
During this first phase as well, two workshops were organized with 140 healthcare practitioners in attendance to discuss the current situation in the country to promote medication safety, adopt a list of priorities, identify gaps and challenges, as well as propose strategies and related essential interventions.
The two workshops were attended by many senior officials at the strategic level and front line employees of the relevant authorities in the health sector, in academia, and pharmaceutical industry. A multidisciplinary team composed of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and quality staff were invited to the workshops as they all played different roles in achieving medication safety. Also, patient representatives were invited and actively participated in the workshops as the Ministry of Public Health believes in the importance of involving patients and their family members in the treatment plans set for them to achieve a patient-centered health care.
In the same context, the Department of HealthCare Quality at the Ministry of Public Health carried out field visits to some health and academic institutions in the country in the presence of a delegation from the World Health Organization, where interviews and focused panel discussions were held during these visits, in addition to inspecting the work of pharmacies within these institutions.
The next steps in the National Medication Safety Program are to develop a national medication safety policy and action plan according to the proposed priorities and interventions and in line with the proposed objectives of the National Development Strategy 2023-2030, the National Health Strategy (2023-20230), and the Global Action Plan on Patient Safety.