World Patient Safety Day - 17 September 2020

Health Worker Safety: A Priority For Patient Safety.

A global campaign is being launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 17 September to highlight and emphasise the importance of healthcare worker safety. As a pre-requisite for patient safety, WHO want members and countries to commit to and to take urgent and sustainable action to recognise that reducing the risk of harm to health workers is essential for patient safety. In this year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020, it is especially important to highlight the vital role of nurses and midwives in safe patient care, wherever in the world they work.

WHO cite that:-

·         134 million adverse events occur each year due to unsafe care in hospitals in low and middle income countries contributing to 2.6 million deaths annually.

·         15%of hospital expenses can be attributed to treating patient safety failures in OECD countries.   

·         4 out of 10 patients are harmed in the primary and ambulatory care settings, up to 80% of harm in these settings can be avoided. 

The call to action encourages health workers to be aware that :

  • Your own safety starts with you: Take care of your physical and psychological health
  • Protect your safety and that of the people you care for
  • Ensure you are trained and aware of infection prevention and control and implement appropriate measures
  • Proactively contribute to building and strengthening a safety culture at work
  • Improve your knowledge, skills and competencies for safety in health care
  • Know your rights and responsibilities and call for a safe work environment
  • Always report safety risks, violence, harassment or threats to the authorities
  • Promote and implement innovative safety practices within your organization

Friends of African Nursing (and WHO) would encourage healthcare providers to :-

  • Create an open, equitable and transparent safety culture for health workers and patients which allows the reporting of safety incidents in a timely manner
  • Create a supportive, safe working environment and implement innovative safety practices based on a human factors and ergonomics approach
  • Empower health workers to provide safe and clean care
  • Ensure appropriate training and guidance in infection prevention and control
  • Provide sufficient resources to improve the safety of working conditions in health care settings
  • Engage health workers, patients and their families in continuous safety improvement practices
  • Prioritise and invest in occupational health and safety to improve patient safety
  • Implement activities on promoting role modelling and mental health to alleviate stress in the workplace
  • Ensure that mechanisms for the reward and motivation of health workers are in place and used appropriately

We, Friends of African Nursing as a non-governmental organisation support the objectives of World Patient Safety Day:-

  • Raise global awareness about the importance of health worker safety and its interlinkages with patient safety
  • Engage multiple stakeholders and adopt multimodal strategies to improve the safety of health workers and patients
  • Implement urgent and sustainable actions by all stakeholders which recognize and invest in the safety of health workers, as a priority for patient safety
  • Provide due recognition of health workers’ dedication and hard work, particularly amid the current fight against COVID-19

Kate Woodhead

Friends of African Nursing

September 2020

FoAN - Training Nurses Across Africa Since 2001

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