World Patient Safety Day 2023 Puts Patients First

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Patient harm due to unsafe care is a large and growing global public  health challenge, and one of the leading causes of death and disability  worldwide….reports Asian Lite News

This year, World Patient Safety Day 2023 is being celebrated around  the theme “Engaging patients for patient safety”, in recognition of the  central role that patients, their families and caregivers play in  advancing safe care, reducing harm and preventing avoidable deaths.

With the slogan “Elevate the voice of patients”, World Patient Safety  Day focuses on patient engagement in health care as a key strategy for  delivering people-centred health services, reducing the burden of  avoidable harm, strengthening health systems, enhancing health workers’  performance, reducing health care costs, and improving patient  satisfaction, quality of life and health outcomes.

Patient harm due to unsafe care is a large and growing global public  health challenge, and one of the leading causes of death and disability  worldwide. Globally, around one in 10 patients are harmed due to unsafe  health care. More than 50% of that harm is preventable.

In low, and  middle-income countries alone, it is estimated that 134 million adverse  events occur annually due to unsafe care in hospitals contributing to  around 2.6 million deaths.Almost half of the harm is attributed to medications, followed by  invasive clinical procedures, surgical procedures, health care  infections and diagnosis.”Every year, large numbers of patients are harmed or die because of  unsafe health care, especially in low- and middle-income countries,  including in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

It is now  evident that harm can be reduced if patient engagement strategies and  interventions are put in place,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional  Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Further to the human loss, the economic burden of unsafe care is  huge. In low- and middle-income countries, unsafe and poor-quality care  leads to from US$ 1.4 trillion to 1.6 trillion worth of lost  productivity each year.Additionally, the social cost of patient harm can be valued at US$ 1 trillion to 2 trillion a year.

Meaningful patient engagement can reduce the burden of harm by up to  15%, saving billions of dollars each year and consequently, could boost  global economic growth by over 0.7% annually.Evidence shows that patient engagement reduces health care errors and  costs, and improves health outcomes, health care delivery, quality of  care and life.

The need is pressing to invest more in involving and  empowering patients, engaging them and their families in patient safety  in a scientific and strategic approach.The fourth strategic objective of the “Global Patient Safety Action  Plan 2021–2030” states that “Engage and empower patients and families to  help and support the journey to safer health care” and the Patients for  Patient Safety Programme.

Despite that, patient engagement in patient safety continues to lag  in practice. Findings from the Interim Member State Survey conducted to  assess implementation of the Global Patient Safety Action Plan indicated  a pressing need for policy and resource investment at national and  subnational levels, as patients’ involvement and representation at  various levels was unsatisfactory, and insights from patients, if  obtained was not effectively used for improvement.

“Within the Eastern Mediterranean Region, WHO has played an active  role within the global WHO movement, extending its impact through a  diverse array of actions. Our endeavours have encompassed the  development of both the Patient Safety Hospital and Primary Care  Frameworks.

Proper implementation would support achievement of our  regional vision of Health for All by All,” Dr Al-Mandhari added.On the occasion of World Patient Safety Day 2023, WHO calls on all  stakeholders to take necessary actions to ensure that patients are  involved in policy formulation, are represented in governance  structures, are engaged in co-designing safety strategies, and are  active partners in their own care.

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