World Patient Safety Day is a global public health day that takes place every year on September 17. The objective is to bring together all stakeholders within the healthcare system to raise awareness surrounding patient safety.
This year’s chosen theme is medication safety. Today, there are thousands of medications used to prevent and treat a wide range of health concerns. Medication errors are a result of weak health systems and problems with human resources that may affect the “prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring practices” of medications (WHO 2022). This can lead to serious and harmful health consequences, and in the most unfortunate instances, death.
Stakeholders must recognise patient safety as a health priority, and support the required actions needed to ensure medication errors are avoided. Various interventions have been developed to help avoid medication errors and ensure the healthcare industry becomes reliable and trustworthy. However, a stronger commitment from stakeholders is needed to support its widespread implementation and to ensure its sustainability.
Globally, medication errors are estimated to cost around $42 billion per year. Across high-income countries, one in 10 patients suffers from complications after receiving medical care. In low- to middle-income countries, approximately 134 million cases of patient harm have been recorded post-medical care. Clearly, there is a substantial difference in the number of adverse events happening in low- to middle-income countries compared to high-income countries, which requires significant attention.
WHO’s objective is to create a bond between the WHO Member States and professional bodies that will dedicate and engage together in reducing the harm associated with medication. Thegoal within the next five years is to globally reduce 50% of severe preventable medication-related harm.
This year, World Patient Safety day aims to expand “public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and work towards global solidarity and action by the Member States to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm” (WHO 2022).
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