Patient Safety: a global health priority

Patient Safety: a global health priority

Agency News

Kolkata, Sep 11: On the first-ever World Patient Safety Day on September 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) will launch a global campaign to create awareness of patient safety and urge people to show their commitment to making healthcare safer.

World Patient Safety Day brings together patients, families, caregivers, communities, health workers, health-care leaders and policy makers to show commitment to patient safety.

Recognizing patient safety as a global health priority, 194 countries came together to establish September 17 as World Patient Safety Day at the 72nd World Health Assembly in May this year.

On this day, every year, WHO will spotlight patient safety to increase public awareness and engagement; enhance global understanding, and spur global solidarity and action.

The theme is "Patient Safety: a global health priority" and the slogan is “Speak up for patient safety.”

The campaign aims to mobilize patients, health workers, policymakers, academics, researchers, professional networks and the health-care industry to speak up for patient safety.

Patient safety is a serious global public health concern. It is estimated that there is a 1 in 3 million risk of dying while travelling by airplane.

In comparison, the risk of patient death occurring due to a preventable medical accident, while receiving health care, is estimated to be 1 in 300. Industries with a perceived higher risk, such as the aviation and nuclear industries, have a much better safety record than health care does.

Estimates show that in high-income countries, as many as one in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care. The harm can be caused by a range of adverse events, with nearly 50 per cent of them considered preventable.

A study on the frequency and preventability of adverse events across 26 hospitals in eight low and middle-income countries, showed the adverse event rate to be around 8 per cent.

Of these events, 83 per cent were preventable, while about 30 per cent were associated with death of the patient. (UNI)