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World Patient Safety Day: WHO calls for safe medical practices

World Patient Safety Day: WHO calls for safe medical practices

New Delhi: World Health Organisation (WHO) urged on Saturday, the World Patient Safety Day, to prevent avoidable damage in healthcare systems by stopping unsafe medication practices and errors, PTI reported.

Unsafe medication practices and errors cost an estimated USD 42 million around the globe every year, WHO said. This is in addition to causing significant disabilities and deaths.

WHO South-East Asia Regional Director, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said that patient harm due to unsafe medical care accounts for 134 million estimated adverse events annually in low and middle-income countries. This contributes to some 2.6 million deaths annually, Khetrapal Singh said.

Singh explains that unsafe medication practices and errors could happen at different stages. This includes weak medication systems or human factors such as fatigue, poor environmental conditions or staff shortages.

According to her, WHO South-East Asia Region initiated targeted efforts to reduce unsafe medication practices in 2015, and it is still on. The initiative aims to address counterfeit and substandard services and boost patient safety and reporting systems.

She continued that WHO pays region-wide attention to reducing medication-related harm to elderly patients, intensive care, highly specialised or surgical care, as well as emergency medicine.

WHO relentlessly back the nations belonging to the region in adopting a system-wide approach to promoting safe medication practices, she said. The same is done by supporting policymakers to install patient safety incident reporting and learning systems. By empowering healthcare leaders to develop standard operating procedures for safe medication use while increasing health worker training and adherence, she said.

Health workers are supported to stay up to date on safe medication practices. Also, both health professionals and patients are encouraged to be aware of and act on WHO's 'Know, Check, Ask' protocol which aims at increasing public awareness about the importance of using medication safely.

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