On World Patient Safety Day, WHO on Saturday highlighted the need to prevent avoidable harm in health care systems, with a focus on ending unsafe medicine practices and errors.
In addition to significant disability and death, unsafe medication practices and errors cost the world an estimated US$42 million annually.
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In low- and middle-income countries – including the WHO South-East Asia region – patient losses due to unsafe care contribute to an estimated 134 million adverse events annually, resulting in approximately 2.6 million deaths, according to the WHO for South-East Asia Regional Director of Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh said.
Unsafe medication practices and errors can occur at different stages. This could be as a result of a weak pharmaceutical system or human factors such as fatigue, poor environmental conditions or staff shortages, it said in a statement.
Since 2015, the WHO South-East Asia Region has made targeted efforts to reduce unsafe drug practices and errors, with a focus on addressing counterfeit and substandard products and enhancing patient safety and reporting systems.
There is a specific sector-wide focus to reduce drug-related harm in elderly patient care, intensive care, highly specialized or surgical care, and emergency medicine, Singh said in the statement.
WHO continues to support countries in the region to adopt a systems-wide approach to promoting safe pharmaceutical practices, focusing on multiple priorities.
This is done by supporting policy makers to establish systems for patient safety incident reporting and learning. Second, by empowering healthcare leaders to develop standard operating procedures for safe drug use while increasing health workers’ training and adherence, she said.
Health workers are supported to stay up to date on safe drug practices. Also, both healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to be aware of and act on WHO’s ‘Learn, Test, Ask’ protocols, which aim to raise public awareness of the importance of using medicine safely. Is.
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