September 17, 2021By Lance Baily

World Patient Safety Day 2021 Emphasizes ‘Safe Maternal and Newborn Care’

This year, September 17 is World Patient Safety Day is once again during Healthcare Simulation Week! The World Patient Safety Day was established in 2019 by the World Health Organization to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and spur global solidarity and action to promote patient safety. Despite continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a combination of virtual and other activities are being planned by WHO to observe and celebrate this day.

On this year’s World Patient Safety Day, the WHO urges all stakeholders to “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!” with the theme “Safe maternal and newborn care.” According to the WHO, 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. A goal is that momentum generated by World Patient Safety Day 2021 will revamp stakeholders’ efforts to achieve universal health coverage for all women and newborns and ultimately the maternal and newborn Sustainable Development Goal 3 targets.

According to the WHO, 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 labor. The United Nations agency adds that, 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. The agency explains that this can only be achieved through the engagement of all stakeholders and the adoption of comprehensive health systems and community-based approaches.

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Objectives of World Patient Safety Day 2021:

  1. Raise global awareness on the issues of maternal and newborn safety, particularly during childbirth.
  2. Engage multiple stakeholders and adopt effective and innovative strategies to improve maternal and newborn safety.
  3. 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.
  4. Advocate the adoption of best practices at the point of care to prevent avoidable risks and harm to all women and newborns during childbirth.

The signature mark of the World Patient Safety Day global campaign is to light up iconic monuments, landmarks, and public places in the color orange. The 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.

World Patient Safety Day was established in 2019 by the Seventy-second World Health Assembly through the adoption of resolution WHA72.6 — “Global action on patient safety”. The Day is firmly grounded in the fundamental principle of medicine — first, do no harm. World Patient Safety Day builds on a series of successful annual global ministerial summits on patient safety which began in London and Bonn in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

#uniteforsafecare Virtual Event 2021

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This World Patient Safety Day (September 17, 2021) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. PDT, the Patient Safety Movement Foundation is hosting the organization’s second annual #uniteforsafecare campaign. This initiative is designed to bring global awareness to the public and human rights issues we are all now facing: the lack of safety in health care that the pandemic brought to light.

Considering the huge burden of avoidable harm occurring to women and babies in the U.S. and around the world during childbirth, the topic of maternal and newborn safety has been designated by the World Health Organization as the theme for this year’s event, “Safe maternal and newborn care.” The PSMF’s virtual program will touch on this theme but we will also explore the concept of high reliability and create two tracks so that both the general public and health care stakeholders will find value in our programming.

Cyber Patient Free Global Conference on Patient Safety

Cyberpatient will host a free Global Conference on Patient Safety on Friday, September 17, 2021 at 7 AM (PST). A recording will be made available for those who are unable to attend live.

Speakers will include:

  • Dr. Alberto Ferreres – University Buenos Aires
  • Dr. Kieran Walsh – Clinical Director, BMJ
  • Dr. Savvas Nicolaou – University of British Columbia

More About the WHO

Founded in 1948, the WHO is the United Nations agency that connects nations, partners and people to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable — so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health. WHO leads global efforts to expand universal health coverage. We direct and coordinate the world’s response to health emergencies. And we promote healthier lives — from pregnancy care through old age. Our Triple Billion targets outline an ambitious plan for the world to achieve good health for all, using science-based policies and programs.

More About the PSMF

Each year, more than 200,000 people die unnecessarily in U.S. hospitals, with more than three million deaths globally, as a result of unsafe care. PSMF unites patients, advocates, health care providers, medical technology companies, government, employers and private payers in support of this cause. From Actionable Patient Safety Solutions and the industry’s Open Data Pledge to its World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit and more, PSMF won’t stop fighting until it achieves zero preventable patient harm and deaths.

To help better identify the current state of medical errors and patient safety, the PSMF released the results from the organization’s “2021 Patient Safety Awareness Poll.” The data revealed that:

  • 87.3% of respondents had heard little or nothing about medical errors in their communities.
  • 60% had heard of medical errors and could actually identify the common definition of the term.
  • 58.1% of respondents said they are personally worried about medical errors every time they have to seek care.
  • 22% of respondents said they knew someone personally impacted by unsafe care.
  • 57% of respondents felt that most medical errors could be prevented.

More About Cyber Patient

CyberPatient is a healthcare simulation company that works to revolutionize medical education to positively affect the cost, safety and quality of patient care. The company hopes to achieve this by closing the gap between the theory and practice of medicine with a fully interactive medical education platform. CyberPatient enables learners to put their medical theory into practice on virtual, interactive patients that explore the full continuum of care.

Learn More About World Patient Safety Day

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