In May this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a resolution that September 17 each year would henceforth be observed as World Patient Safety Day and it would be officially included in the WHO list of healthcare dates. It would hence be observed in all 194 member states of the WHO. This was the result of an initiative by the International Alliance of Patient Organizations (IAPO), which holds that “Patient safety must be put first in the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage as this will reassure communities to trust their healthcare systems to keep them and their families safe.”
The World Patient Safety Day is a campaign for all stakeholders in the healthcare system to work together to improve patient safety. It is a recognition of the scale of avoidable harm linked with medical errors. Besides, it is a commitment of all WHO member states to make patient safety a key healthcare priority and to take action to reduce patient harm in healthcare settings.
According to a case study presented on the IAPO website, the 42-member Alliance for Patients’ Mutual Help Organizations (APMHO) — an institutional member of IAPO — achieved remarkable successes in upholding patients’ rights. In one specific instance, one of the APMHO members managed to persuade their government health authority to eschew a cheaper, generic medicine for colon cancer and age-related macular degeneration. The reason: safety studies showed that the non-branded version was not sufficiently free from adverse effects. After a year spent in lobbying with government health authorities and universities, the APMHO managed to persuade the authorities to adopt the registered medicine for reimbursement.
Jeddah Declaration —Empowering patients with safety
The 4th Global Ministerial Patient Safety Summit, held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in March 2019, ended with the Jeddah Declaration. The salient points of the declaration are:
• Promote patient safety in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC)
• Utilize digital health to support patient safety throughout the globe
• Promote patient empowerment and community engagement for patient safety
• Leverage the ICD (International Classification of Diseases) and ICAE (International Classification of Adverse Events)
• Implement and sustain national reporting and learning systems for patient safety
• Invest in workforce knowledge and safety as drivers for patient safety
• Learn from other industries
• Promote medication safety in community pharmacies.