WORLD PATIENT SAFETY DAY
The Pharmacy Unit of the Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services (MoHASHS) in pursuit of its policy strategy to ensure quality assurance as it relates to all medicines utilized in the Turks and Caicos Islands, will join in with the World Health Organization (WHO) in commemorating World Patient Safety Day on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. The WHO will be launching its 1st ever global campaign to create awareness about Patient Safety (PS) under the theme “Patient Safety: A Global Health Priority” with the slogan “Speak up for Patient Safety”. The WHO will be utilizing the day to urge everyone (patients and healthcare professionals) to show their commitment in making healthcare safer.
According to the WHO, PS is the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of health care and reduction of risk of unnecessary harm associated with health care to an acceptable minimum. An acceptable minimum refers to a combination of current knowledge, available resources and the context in which care was delivered. Since, every point in the process of care-giving contains a certain degree of inherent unsafety, clear policies, organisational leadership capacity, data to drive safety improvements, skilled health professionals and effective involvement of patients in their care, are all needed to ensure sustainable and significant improvements in the safety of healthcare. The WHO has also indicated that statistics have shown that 134 million adverse events occur each year due to unsafe care in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries, contributing to 2.6 million deaths annually. It also indicates that 4 out of 10 patients are harmed in the primary and ambulatory settings; 80% of which can be avoided. Further an estimated $42 billion (USD) is spent annually to address medication errors.
The PS campaign is a development of the third WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm 2017, and aims to engage key stakeholders in the development and implementation of strategies for medication safety with the aim of reducing severe avoidable medication-related harm. This encourages and empowers both patients and their caregivers and health professionals (nurses, physicians, pharmacists, etc.) to take an active role in ensuring safer medication practices and medication use processes including prescription, preparation, dispensing, administration and monitoring.
One of the developments stemming from the third WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm, was the patient engagement tool entitled the 5 Moments for Medication Safety. It was developed to support the implementation of the Challenge by reducing severe avoidable medication-related harm by 50% globally over 5 years. The tool focuses on 5 key moments where action by the patient or caregiver can reduce the risk of harm associated with the use of medication/s. It further aims to engage and empower patients to be involved in their own care. It should be used in collaboration with health professionals, but should always remain with the patients, their families or caregivers.
The MoHASHS is very committed to Patient Safety and as one of its initiatives is currently embarking on a system that will coordinate and manage the reporting of adverse drug reactions to improve Patient Safety. The MoHASHS views this initiative as a very significant step to strengthen the systems and capacities required to improve the effective monitoring of drug/patient safety.
For further information on PS, please contact André Morgan, National Pharmacist at 338-3072.