Medical error reporting among physicians and nurses in Uganda

25 January, 2020

Dear HIFA colleagues,

This new paper (2019) is based on research several years ago (2013) for reasons that are unclear. But this is an important topic that has not been fully addressed on HIFA.

CITATION: Medical error reporting among physicians and nurses in Uganda

African Health Sciences Vol 19, No 4 (2019)

Gideon Mauti, Margaret Githae


Background: Patient safety is a fundamental component of health care quality and medical errors continue to occur, placing patients at risk. Medical error reporting systems could help reduce the errors.

Purpose: This study assessed “Medical error reporting among Physicians and Nurses in Uganda”. The objectives were; (1) identify the existing medical error reporting systems. (2) Assess the types of medical errors that occurred. (3) Establish factors influencing error reporting.

Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive study in Kisubi and Entebbe hospitals between March to August 2013, with quantitative methods.

Results: Medical errors occurred in the two hospitals (53.2%), with overdoses (42.9%) leading. Neither hospital had a medical error reporting system. More than two thirds, 42(64.6%), would not report. Almost half, 29(44.6%) believe reporting a medical error is a medical obligation. Majority, 50(76.9%), believed the law does not protect medical error reporting. Not punishing health workers who report medical errors, (53.8%) and ‘training on error reporting (41.70%) are the greatest measures to improve medical error reporting among nurses and physicians respectively.

Conclusion: Medical errors occur in the two hospitals and there are no reporting systems. Health workers who report medical errors should not be punished.

Comment (NPW): Reporting of medical errors is one of several components of improving patient safety. It would be interesting to hear more about this subject.

Importantly, there are additional patient safety considerations in low-resource settings as compared with high-income countries, due to failure of health systems to meet frontline health worers' basic needs (skills, equipment, information, systems support, medicines, incentives, commmunication...).

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: