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What patients say about surgical care at Muhimbili

What patients say about surgical care at Muhimbili

[Dar es Salaam] A recent study has reported progress in the way doctors communicate to patients receiving surgical care at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), however, researchers have recommended a closer follow-up of the patients who are discharged from the facility after undergoing surgery.

Findings of the study, which were published in the East African Journal of Public Health last December, show that 79% of the patients reported they would willingly return to MNH for surgical care and recommend the facility to a relative or friend.

The study, involving 100 patients however, suggests, “[…] more studies should be done [in] assessing the quality and outcome related to the surgical care.”

Good outcome of care in a patient who has undergone surgery is an indication of the success of the procedure, according another report by The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery.

During the study at Muhimbili, data was collected from patients who had been scheduled to undergo surgery and later being admitted at Kibasila ward in the 1500-bed capacity national hospital in the months of August and September.

Researchers found that 86% of the patients were aware of what their illness was about, with almost 97% saying they were satisfied with the way the doctor communicated with them while about 20% had no idea of the surgical procedure they were to undergo.

But about 36% of the patients were dissatisfied, with 30.5% complaining of delayed response of the nurses, shows the study titled: Patients satisfaction on surgical care at Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania.

“Some complained of nurses chatting most of the time and delaying to respond to patients’ needs. This was experienced mostly during night time,’’ says the study, adding: “Another group of patients were not satisfied with the maintenance of some infrastructure such as toilets and sinks.”

Lead researcher Dr Obadia Nyongole, a lecturer at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Muhas) told MedicoPRESS that the findings of the study must serve as a lesson for most public hospitals across the country, in terms of offering good customer care and quality services.

Although the MNH study focused on what makes the patients feel satisfied or dissatisfied about surgical care, Dr Nyongole further explains that patients’ discharge and returning home are important stages in the surgical care process and deserves attention.

“…long-term complications can be avoided among patients who have undergone surgery if health workers closely follow-up their patients’ progress after discharge. This can be done if initiatives are put in place to accomplish this goal,” says Dr Nyongole, a specialist in Urology.

On customer care, he says, “Quite often, customer care is ignored, especially in public hospitals but if practiced well, it can play a major role in ensuring that the outcome of the operations we carry out on our patients are good.”

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Commenting on the study, the Executive Director of Tanzania Rural Health Movement (TRHM), Dr Marko Hingi says, “If good customer care is practiced in public hospitals, a number of patients’ complaints could be avoided,” he tells MedicoPRESS.

At MNH, where the study was carried out, the hospital’s Head of Quality Assurance Unit, Samson Ndille says the issues raised by dissatisfied patients are being resolved in phases as the facility undertakes reforms.

“We have started rehabilitating most of the hospital’s infrastructure in phases. Muhimbili is an old hospital with outdated buildings. That we can’t deny,” says Ndile.

“About the nurses’ response to needs of patients in wards, the hospital is now practicing continuous quality improvements by relying on the Sino-Japanese model of improvement known as Kaizen,’’ he says.

Full study for reference:

Obadia V. Nyongole, Meck P. Nyanda: Patients satisfaction on surgical care at Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania (East African Journal of Public Health, December 2018)

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