World Patient Safety Day

Patient Safety has many aspects, however, for the year 2021 the World Health Organization has chosen to focus on asking all stakeholders to, “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!” thereby going by the theme “Safe maternal and Newborn Care.” What is World Patient Safety Day? In order to raise an international understanding of the […]

Patient Safety has many aspects, however, for the year 2021 the World Health Organization has chosen to focus on asking all stakeholders to, “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!” thereby going by the theme “Safe maternal and Newborn Care.”

What is World Patient Safety Day?

In order to raise an international understanding of the patients’ safety, to boost public involvement in the safety of health care and to promote global efforts to improve patient safety and prevent harm to patients, World Patient Safety Day was launched in 2019. 

The Day brings patients, families, caregivers, communities, health workers, health care leaders, and policymakers together to demonstrate their commitment to patient safety.

The World Health Assembly resolution WHA 72.6 ‘Global action on patient safety’ acknowledges patient safety as a global health priority and supports the establishment of World Patient Safety Day, which will be observed annually on September 17th.

“Safe Maternal and Newborn Care” – Dissecting the theme for 2021

Patient Safety has many aspects, however, for the year 2021 the World Health Organization has chosen to focus on asking all stakeholders to, “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!” thereby going by the theme “Safe maternal and Newborn Care.” Statistics show that approximately 810 women die daily from causes that are considered to be preventable, all of which are related to pregnancy and childbirth. Furthermore, at least 6700 newborns die on a daily basis, accounting for at least 47% of deaths of children Under-5. Lastly, at least 2 million stillbirths are accounted for annually.

COVID-19 hasn’t made the situation any better, as healthcare services have become more difficult to access. Furthermore, countries like Sri Lanka have reported rising cases in which expectant mothers have contracted the virus. Lastly, in a developing nation like ours, many expectant mothers believe in home births compared to going to the hospitals, especially at times like this. Thus, this theme hits home this year, especially.

World Patient Safety Day aims to raise global awareness on the issues of maternal and newborn safety, particularly during childbirth, by implementing effective and innovative strategies to improve maternal and newborn safety, advocating for good practices at the point of care to prevent avoidable risks to women and newborns during childbirth, and finally calling for long-term and utmost safety.

WHO Initiatives on Patient Safety

WHO’s work on patient safety began in 2004 with the formation of the World Alliance for Patient Safety, and it has since evolved. Through the establishment of Global Patient Safety Challenges, WHO has facilitated improvements in the safety of health care within the Member States. Each Challenge has identified a patient safety burden that poses a significant risk. So far, the difficulties have been as follows:

– Clean Care is Safer Care (2005), with the goal of reducing health-care-associated infection through improved hand hygiene.

– Safe Surgery Saves Lives (2008); an organization dedicated to lowering the risks associated with surgery.

– Medication Without Harm (2017); with a five-year goal of reducing the level of severe, avoidable harm associated with medications by half.

Through the annual Global Ministerial Summits on Patient Safety, WHO also provided countries with strategic guidance and leadership. It has also developed technical guidance and resources such as MPC Guide, Safer Childbirth Checklist, Surgical Safety Checklist, Patient Safety Solutions and 5 Medication Safety Moments. In addition, the WHO fostered the development of networking and collaborative efforts such as the Worldwide Patient Safety Network and the Global Patient Safety Collaborative with the aim of promoting global solidarity.

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