Today, September 17 is the first commemoration of the “World Patient Safety Day” which was established by the 72nd World Health Assembly earlier in May 2019.
It seeks to draw global attention to the issues of patient safety in solidarity with patients.
The World Health Organisation noted that millions of patients are harmed each year due to unsafe health care worldwide, resulting in 2.6 million deaths annually in low-and middle-income countries alone.
“Most of these deaths are avoidable. The personal, social and economic impact of patient harm leads to losses of trillions of US dollars worldwide.
“The World Health Organisation is focusing global attention on the issue of patient safety and launching a campaign in solidarity with patients on the very first World Patient Safety Day on 17 September,” the global health body said in a Press release.
While WHO said that no one should be harmed while receiving health care, its Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, lamented that, globally, at least five patients die every minute because of unsafe care.
“We need a patient safety culture that promotes partnership with patients, encourages reporting and learning from errors, and creates a blame-free environment where health workers are empowered and trained to reduce errors,” Ghebreyesus said.
The release added that four out of every 10 patients are harmed during primary and ambulatory health care.
“The most detrimental errors are related to diagnosis, prescription and the use of medicines.
“Medication errors alone cost an estimated $42bn annually.
“Unsafe surgical care procedures cause complications in up to 25% of patients, resulting in one million deaths during or immediately after surgery annually,” the report further said.
Stating that patient harm in health care is unacceptable, WHO called for urgent action by countries and partners around the world to reduce patient harm in health care.
“Patient safety and quality of care are essential for delivering effective health services and achieving universal health coverage,” it said.
On the very first World Patient Safety Day, WHO is prioritizing patient safety as a global health priority and urging patients, healthcare workers, policy makers and health care industry to “Speak up for patient safety!”
Source: World Health Organisation