Patient safety is a seriousglobal public healthissue. In recent years,countries haveincreasingly recognizedthe importanceof improving patientsafety.In 2002, WHO Member States agreed on a World HealthAssemblyresolution on patient safety.
Estimates show that in developedcountries as many as one in 10patients is harmed whilereceivinghospital care.The harm can be caused by arange of errors or adverse events.In October 2004 WHO launched the world alliance forpatient safety in response to WHO Assembly of 2002 urgin WHO and members States to pay the closestpossible attention to the problem on patient safety.
In developing countries,the probability of patientsbeing harmed in hospitalsis higher than inindustrialized nations. Therisk of health care-associated infection insome developing countriesis as much as 20 timeshigher than in developedcountries.
At any given time, 1.4million peopleworldwide suffer frominfections acquired inhospitals.Hand hygiene is themost essential measurefor reducing health care-associatedinfection and thedevelopment ofantimicrobial resistance
At least 50% of medical equipmentin developing countries is unusableor only partly usable.Often the equipment is not useddue to lack of skills or commodities.As a result, diagnostic procedures ortreatments cannot be performed. This leads to substandard orhazardous diagnosis or treatmentthat can pose a threatto the safety of patients and mayresult in serious injury or death.
In some countries, theproportion of injections givenwith syringes or needles reusedwithout sterilization is as highas 70%.This exposes millions of peopleto infections. Each year, unsafeinjections cause 1.3 milliondeaths,primarily due to transmissionof blood-bornepathogens such as hepatitis Bvirus, hepatitis C virus andHIV.
The economic benefits ofimproving patient safetyare compelling.Studies show thatadditional hospitalization,litigation costs, infectionsacquired in hospitals, lostincome, disability andmedical expenses havecost some countriesbetween US$ 6 billion andUS$ 29 billion a year.
Industries with a perceivedhigher risk such as aviationand nuclear plants have amuch better safety recordthan health care. There is aone in 1 000 000 chance of atraveller being harmed whilein an aircraft. In comparison,there is a one in 300 chanceof a patient being harmedduring health care.
Patients experience andtheir health are at the heartof the patient safetymovement. The WorldAlliance for Patient Safety isworking with 40 champions– who have in the pastsuffered due to lack ofpatient safety measures – tohelp make health care saferworldwide.
The global patient safety challenge 2005-2006,A core programof the WORLD ALLIANCE FOR PATIENT SAFETY ,bringstogether the WHO guidelines on :Hand hygiene in heath careWork on blood safetyInjection and immunization safetySafer clinical practicesSafe water ,Sanitation and health care waste management
The global patient safetychallenges builds upon existingcountry efforts and initiative to fighthealth care associated infections.Reducing the spread of theseinfections will be a critical steptowards enhanced and long termsafety in health care.