On 17 September 2020, the World Health Organization, international partners and all countries will celebrate World Patient Safety Day.
World Patient Safety Day was established by the 72nd World Health Assembly, in May 2019, with the adoption of resolution WHA72.6 on ‘Global action on patient safety’, and an endorsement for the Day to be marked annually on 17 September. World Patient Safety Day builds on a series of successful annual Global Ministerial Summits on Patient Safety, which started in London in 2016.
The overall objectives of World Patient Safety Day are to enhance global understanding of patient safety, increase public engagement in the safety of health care and promote global actions to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm. The origin of the Day is firmly grounded in the fundamental principle of medicine – First, do no harm.
The COVID-19 pandemic is presently among the biggest challenges and threats to face the world and humanity, and health care is living its greatest crisis in patient safety ever! The pandemic has exerted unprecedented pressure on health systems worldwide. Health systems can only function with health workers, and a knowledgeable, skilled and motivated health workforce is critical for the provision of safe care to patients.
WHO urges all stakeholders to “Speak Up for Health Worker Safety!”
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the huge challenges health workers are currently facing globally. Working in stressful environments exacerbates safety risks for health workers, including being infected and contributing to outbreaks in the health care facility, having limited access or adherence to personal protective equipment and other infection prevention and control measures, and inducing errors which can potentially harm patients and health workers. In many countries, health workers are facing increased risks of infections, violence, accidents, stigma, illness and death.
During these unprecedented times, a combination of virtual and other activities is being planned by WHO to observe and celebrate the Day in September. The signature mark of the global campaign is to light up iconic monuments, landmarks, and public places in orange colour, in collaboration with local authorities. This will also be a gesture of respect and gratitude to all health workers.