Monday, June 21 2021


Patient safety a global health priority: WHO representative

Update: September, 18/2019 - 00:19
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn speaks at a meeting in Hà Nội on Tuesday to mark the first World Patient Safety Day (September 17). — VNS Photo Thanh Hải

HÀ NỘI — Health experts called for improving patient safety at medical facilities at a meeting held in Hà Nội on Tuesday by the Medical Services under the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation on the occasion of World Patient Safety Day (September 17).

“Patient safety is regarded as an essential element of universal health coverage and has become a global health priority,” said WHO Health System Coordinator Momoe Takeuchi at the meeting.

Takeuchi said that the WHO recognised “patient safety was a critical element of, and the foundation for, delivering quality healthcare”, as stated in its recently adopted World Health Assembly Resolution on Global Action on Patient Safety.

She said that patient harm can originate at both primary care and hospital care level. The most detrimental errors are related to diagnosis, prescription and the use of medicines, health care-associated infections, and unsafe surgical care procedures. Patient harm costs lives and huge unnecessary expenditures for the health system, families and communities, to deal with consequences of safety failures.

“Safer care reduces the need for additional treatment or extended hospital stays, the burden of litigation and costs of long-term care occurring due to injury or disability. Safer care can also improve trust in the healthcare system and enable patients to seek often crucial healthcare promptly,” said Takeuchi.

“Patient safety failures are among the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world. Most of these deaths and disability are avoidable,” said Takeuchi.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn said that the health ministry issued circular 43 in 2018 on “Guidelines to prevention of medical adverse incidents in healthcare facilities” for improving patient safety at medical facilities nationwide with a focus on safe use of medicine, surgical safety, control of hospital infection and reducing risks.

Sơn also called on improving awareness on patient safety and commitment to building a safety culture and friendly environment for patients at health facilities nationwide.

While it seems obvious that no one should be harmed while receiving healthcare, yet 2.6 million patients die due to patient safety issues every year in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Globally, five people die every minute due to errors while receiving healthcare or more than 7,000 people die every day due to unsafe healthcare worldwide, according to a WHO report.

Organised for the first time in Việt Nam, the event aims to strengthen awareness of health workers and community on patient safety in Việt Nam and around the world. With the slogan “Speak up for patient safety”, it targets healthcare managers to create enabling environments where healthcare staff can speak up for patient safety, comply, and gradually adopt the culture of patient safety. — VNS


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