World Patient Safety Day (4) WHO SEARO Statement

17 September, 2021

Extract from a Statement from the WHO South-East Asia regional office, and a comment from me below:

'On maternal and newborn care specifically, WHO is calling on stakeholders to increase uptake of evidence-based interventions with point of care quality improvements, particularly during childbirth, with a focus on several priorities. First, fostering respectful care for safe delivery. Every woman has the right to a positive birth experience and to be treated with dignity and respect by facility staff regardless of background, health, or social status. Second, ensuring appropriate use of drugs and medical products during childbirth, including blood and injection safety. In all countries of the Region, WHO guidance on intrapartum care, essential newborn care, advanced newborn care, and emergency obstetric and newborn care must be harnessed and applied to maximum effect. Third, continued commitment to improve quality of care, including through the Region’s Point of Care Quality Improvement Model. All adverse events must be reported, and corrective measures applied. Fourth, ensuring health workers are well trained and well equipped to provide safe care, for which knowledge-sharing and collaboration are essential, with a focus on strengthening the midwifery cadre and enhancing access to quality emergency obstetric services.'

Comment (Neil PW): As we have previously discussed on HIFA, there are big differences in priorities for patient safety between high-income and low-and-middle-income countries, and these differences are only slowly being widely acknowledged. The current guiding principles of patient safety are to: 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, Instil a safety culture in the design and delivery of health care (Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021–2030). The emphasis of the WHO SEARO Statement acknolwedges the fact that, in low-resource settings, safety is critically dependent on whether or not the basic needs of frontline health workers are met. HIFA summarises these as Skills, Equipment, Information, Systems, Medicines, Incentives and Communication facilities. No patient safety without access to reliable healthcare information. No patient safety if the basic needs of healthcare providers are not met.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,