This first annual World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) is a moment for the global health community to come together to raise public awareness, understanding and engagement globally of the need to work towards global solidarity and action by all to promote patient safety. 

Recognizing patient safety as a global health priority, 194 countries came together to establish 17 September as World Patient Safety Day at the 72nd World Health Assembly. On this day, every year, WHO will spotlight patient safety to increase public awareness and engagement; enhance global understanding, and spur global solidarity and action.

2019 will be the first year that we are marking WPSD and the day will be celebrated on Tuesday 17th September. The campaign is a result of the WHA7.6 Resolution ‘Global Action on Patient Safety’ passed on May 28, 2019 at the World Health Assembly. The passing of the resolution is a global commitment made by all WHO member states to recognize patient safety as a key health priority and agreeing to take action to reduce patient harm in health care settings. 

The theme is “Patient Safety: a global health priority” and the slogan is “Speak up for patient safety.”

The campaign aims to mobilize patients, health workers, policymakers, academics, researchers, professional networks and the health-care industry to speak up for patient safety.

Objectives of World Patient Safety Day 

Global observance of WPSD aims to:

  • Raise awareness of patient safety issues globally.
  • Enhance global understanding on the central role of patient safety in achieving Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Encourage development of systems and procedures for the elimination of all avoidable health care related harm to patients, and management of risks in healthcare.
  • Encourage all governments to commit to and support the implementation of strategies for ensuring patient safety, managing risks and fostering supportive, learning cultures.   
  • Strengthen collaboration and partnerships at global, regional, national and local levels for implementing patient safety strategies and for improving safety of healthcare.
  • Highlight specific patient safety themes such as Medication Safety, Education and Training in Patient Safety, Reporting and learning systems, Patient Engagement. 

Key Messages: How can you enhance patient safety?

If you are a Patient or Caregiver

  • Be actively involved in your own care
  • It is good to ask questions; safe health care starts with good communication
  • Be sure to provide accurate information about your health history

If you are a Health Worker or Health Care Leader

  • Engage patients as partners in their care
  • Work together for patient safety
  • Ensure continuous professional development to improve your skills and knowledge in patient safety
  • Create an open and transparent safety culture in health care settings
  • Encourage blame-free reporting of and learning from errors

If you are a Policy Maker

  • Investing in patient safety results in financial savings
  • Invest in patient safety to save lives and build trust
  • Make patient safety a national health priority

If you are a Researcher, Student, Academic, or Professional Institution

  • Generate evidence to improve patient safety, your research matters 
  • Encourage research in patient safety
  • Incorporate patient safety in educational curricula and courses

If you are from a Professional Association, International Organization or Foundation

  • Promote patient safety for achieving universal health coverage
  • Provide learning and development opportunities for patient safety

If you are a Public Health Advocate or from a Patient Organization

  • Promote patients’ voices in their own safe care
  • Advocate for safety in health care as a requirement

As part of the WPSD 2019, Rare Diseases South Africa (RDSA) is calling on all members and partners as well as various healthcare organizations, policy-makers, academia, institutions, industry and other stakeholders to advocate and promote all aspects of patient safety.  We want all patients, patient advocates and carers to commit to prioritize patient safety and making healthcare safer worldwide!” 

We also want all governments to do the following:

  • Recognise patient safety as a health priority in health policy and programmes, making it a key component for strengthening healthcare systems to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
  • Establish systems to engage and empower patients’ families and communities in delivering safer healthcare.
  • Mark World Patient Safety Day annually on 17 September to promote all aspect of patient safety.

5 Ways to Show Your Support

  1. Help us urge our NDOH to ensure successful implementation of patient safety. Write to the Minster of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize urging the NDOH to prioritise patient safety as well as ensure successful implementation of the recommendations made in the WHO Director-General’s report. You can also share Rare Diseases South Africa’s (RDSA) letter to the Minster of Health
  2. Mobilise your network on Tuesday 17th September. Make sure your contacts know about World Patient Safety Day. Send them a quick message letting them know how they can show their support. Patient Safety matters to ALL South Africans.
  3. Spread the word by posting the key messages on Facebook and Twitter. Access the messages and graphics on the WHO website and remember to use the hashtag #PatientSafety and #WorldPatientSafetyDay with your posts.
  4. Share your World Patient Safety Day photos  Whichever way you’re marking WPSD, post your photos on social media using the hashtags #PatientSafety and #WorldPatientSafetyDay or send your best photo to illustrate what ‘speaking up for patient safety‘ looks like for you to patientsafety@who.int

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