Shifa International Hospital Facilitates IHRA In Launching a Patient Safety Project To Improve The Safety Of High-Alert Medicines


Salwa Ahsan, Chief of Pharmacy, at Shifa International Hospital & Senior VP, of the Pakistan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (PSHP) played a key role in launching a patient safety project along with the Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority (IHRA) aimed at improving the safety of High-Alert Medicines.
High Alert Medicines (HAMs) are known for serious, life-threatening consequences when used in error, hence it’s a high-priority patient safety project, involving collaborative partners: The Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority (IHRA), Pakistan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (PSHP), and United States Pharmacopeia (USP) to prevent patient harm and loss of precious lives due to medication errors involving High-Alert Medicines.
Senior members of the partner organizations met with Dr. Quaid Saeed CEO of the Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority (IHRA) to launch this initiative.
Pakistan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (PSHP) has been working with DRAP on the draft, and in Sept 2022 DRAP finally approved and notified the 1st National High Alert Medicine Guidelines (Pakistan). (Available on DRAP’s website). As the next logical step, PSHP is engaging with the provinces and federal capital to start the implementation of these guidelines at the grassroots level.
Salwa Ahsan, Senior VP PSHP and Chief of Pharmacy Shifa International Hospital is coordinating with IHRA & USP Pakistan to launch a pilot project in ICT in this regard. Shifa International Hospitals Ltd. is a Joint Commission International-accredited healthcare facility that shall be acting as a role model or training site in this project. In this regards Shifa International Hospitals Ltd. has already facilitated a 1-day training for the team of IHRA surveyors on the HAMs guidelines, safety standards, and monitoring parameters in the first phase.
As we move forward, USP Pakistan has been engaged to further support PSHP and IHRA in conducting training and capacity building for the healthcare staff in the federal capital, as well as implementing HAMs standards through the Minimum Service Delivery Standards (MSDS) for ICT.
Together, this partnership will work towards implementing the protocol agreed today for the safe use of High Alert Medicines in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). Dr. Quaid Saeed lauded the support provided by PSHP, Shifa, and USP in this regard and assured that the agreed standards will be fully enforced in ICT and also be part of the training programs to be jointly conducted by the partners that IHRA offers to healthcare staff in its jurisdiction. He further stated that “We need to put in place a strong system for the use of High-Alert Medicines since their inappropriate use can lead to loss of life. Let’s pilot this initiative in Islamabad and then replicate it in other provinces too”.

Shifa and IRHA project