For World Patient Safety Day, 17 September 2021, WHO urges all stakeholders to “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!” with the theme “Safe maternal and newborn care”. Approximately 810 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, around 6700 newborns die every day, amounting to 47% of all under-5 deaths. Moreover, about 2 million babies are stillborn every year, with over 40% occurring during labour. Considering the significant burden of risks and harm women and newborns are exposed to due to unsafe care, compounded by the disruption of essential health services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign is even more important this year.
Fortunately, the majority of stillbirths and maternal and newborn deaths are avoidable through the provision of safe and quality care by skilled health professionals working in supportive environments. This can only be achieved through the engagement of all stakeholders and the adoption of comprehensive health systems and community-based approaches.
World Patient Safety Day was established in 2019 to enhance global understanding of patient safety, increase public engagement in the safety of health care and promote global actions to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm.
Objectives of World Patient Safety Day 2021
- Raise global awareness on the issues of maternal and newborn safety, particularly during childbirth.
- Engage multiple stakeholders and adopt effective and innovative strategies to improve maternal and newborn safety.
- Call for urgent and sustainable actions by all stakeholders to scale up efforts, reach the unreached and ensure safe maternal and newborn care, particularly during childbirth.
- Advocate the adoption of best practices at the point of care to prevent avoidable risks and harm to all women and newborns during childbirth.
Celebrating World Patient Safety Day 2021
During the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a combination of virtual and other activities are being planned by WHO to observe and celebrate the Day in September 2021. The signature mark of the global campaign is to light up iconic monuments, landmarks, and public places in the colour orange.
WHO calls upon all stakeholders – governments, nongovernmental organizations, professional organizations, civil society, patient organizations, academia and research institutes – to join the global campaign by lighting up iconic monuments in orange, and organizing international, national and local activities and events on and around 17 September 2021.
Key strategic action areas
The Patient Safety and Risk Management unit at WHO has been instrumental in advancing and shaping the patient safety agenda globally by focusing on driving improvements in some key strategic areas through:
- providing global leadership and fostering collaboration between Member States and relevant stakeholders
- setting global priorities for action
- developing guidelines and tools
- providing technical support and building capacity of Member States
- engaging patients and families for safer health care
- monitoring improvements in patient safety
- conducting research in the area
By focusing on these key areas to facilitate sustainable improvements in patient safety, WHO aims to enhance patient experience, reduce risks and harm, achieve better health outcomes and lower costs.
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