Regional Webinar ASIA (including EMRO)
On Sept 13, 2021, the WPA Regional Webinar on World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) was held for the Asian Region (including EMRO). It was a successful event in which renowned speakers from the region participated that included WHO regional official, patients’ safety experts and patient advocates from all over the region. Hussain Jafri, founding WPA Board member was the moderator of the webinar.
Hussain welcomed participants and speakers to the webinar and presented an introduction to the WPA. He highlighted that the WPSD is observed globally on 17th Sept every year. The objectives of WPSD are to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and work towards global solidarity and action by all stakeholders to improve patient safety. The theme of WPSD 2021 is “Safe maternal and newborn care” and all stakeholders are urged to “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!”. Maternal and child mortality is one of the major health issues of the current times. Every day we lose 810 women due to pregnancy related complication, whereas 6700 newborns also lose their lives and there are 5400 stillbirths occurring every day as well globally. The tragic part is that most of these deaths are avoidable through the provision of safe care.
The next speaker was Dr. Mondher Letaief, Regional Adviser, Patient Safety and Quality WHO EMRO Office. Dr. Mondher spoke about WHO’s “Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021–2030”, which has been adopted by the WHO Member States during the World Health Assembly in 2021. The plan proposes concrete actions to eliminate avoidable harm in health care. This adoption of the action plan provides strategic and practical direction to countries to formulate policies and implement interventions at all levels and settings aimed at improving patient safety. The action plan outlines priority actions to be taken by governments, civil society, international organizations, intergovernmental organizations, WHO and, most importantly, by health care facilities across the world. WHO will work in cooperation with member states in the development of their respective implementation plans and according to their national context. Seven guiding principles establish underpinning values to shape the development and implementation of the action plan. These principles include engage patients and families as partners in safe care; achieve results through collaborative working; analyse and share data to generate learning; translate evidence into actionable and measurable improvement; base policies and action on the nature of the care setting; use both scientific expertise and patient experience to improve safety ; and instill a safety culture in the design and delivery of healthcare. The patients and patients’ organizations shall be actively involved in this plan as partners for the provision of safe healthcare.
Dr. Abdulela Alhawsawi, former founding Director General of the Saudi Patient Safety Center (SPSC) and Saudi MOH Advisor presented on pandemic & patients safety in the region. He said both COVID-19 patients as well as non COVID-19 patients suffered during the pandemic. The health systems largely had tunnel vision, only thinking of COVID and ignoring everything else, which led to the increase in errors of omission. There was shut down of many services and even health facilities due to covid that resulted in non covid patients suffering and even being harmed. In Saudi arabia, we overcame this problem by developing a priority grid that has three categories. Emergency cases had to be dealt with on urgent basis, then the semi urgent cases to be dealt with within one to 30 days, whereas the elective, routine or non urgent cases could be dealt with over 30 days. This helped in ensuring safety in the provision of healthcare. We have to have a business continuity plan in place as health services will always run the danger of having to face more pandemics and emergencies in future. Moreover, Health workers safety should also be a priority and emphasized everywhere because it also ensures patients safety and we also cannot have patient safety without health workforce safety.
The next speaker of the webinar was Dr. JS Arora, General Secretary of National Thalassemia Welfare Society, India and Member Advisory Group, WHO’s Patients for Patients Safety Program presented on WHO’s global patient safety challenge ‘Medication Without Harm’. He said that the aim of this challenge is to encourage and empower patients, their caregivers and healthcare professionals (for example nurses, physicians, pharmacists) to take an active role in ensuring safer medication practices and medication use processes including prescription, preparation, dispensing, administration and monitoring. The three priority action areas of the challenge are to improve medication safety at transitions of care (for example, being admitted or discharged from hospital); reduce the risk in high-risk situations (for example, certain patient groups or certain medicines); and reduce the level of inappropriate polypharmacy (when a person uses a number of medicines on a regular basis including some unnecessary medicines or medicines without a known reason). For meeting the challenge, four domains of work have been identified by the WHO, which include patients and the public, healthcare professionals, medicines and systems and practices of medication. It is important that there is a system in place for medication safety and that patients and healthcare providers work in partnership to reduce the medicine errors globally.
The last speaker of the webinar was Manvir Victor, founding Chairman of Patients for Patient Safety, Malaysia and Member Advisory Group, WHO’s Patients for Patients Safety Program. Manvir spoke about the role of patients in patients safety and narrated his own example of how he being a kidney failure patient became an active patient advocate that not only helped in improving his own healthcare but also helped in the establishment of a very successful patients movement in Malaysia. Manvir stressed upon the importance of listening to the patients and also to utilizing them to improve systems and processes within healthcare facilities and organizations. He advocated for all health workers to act with genuine compassion toward their patients, for its only then that patients are able to fully trust them with their lives.
The presentation were followed by a panel discussion in which not only detailed discussion on the topic was held but speakers also answered questions form the audience.
The 2021 Asian Region (including EMRO) World Patient Safety Day webinar is available for viewing on the WPA YouTube channel at World Patients Alliance Regional Webinar on WPSD 2021 for ASIA (including EMRO) – YouTube