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World Health Organization (WHO) Patient Safety

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands 2013
WHO’s Patient for Patient Safety (PFPS) has been encouraging action on patient participation in hand hygiene promotion in the run-up to the annual SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands Day, held on 5 May 2013. This year’s campaign called for healthcare facilities to work with their patients, patients’ organizations and local communities to promote hand hygiene.

In China, IAPO member, the Beijing Association of Alzheimer’s Disease, worked in close collaboration with the local community and medical staff to organize events to mark the day, by holding a workshop attended by over 100 community members. Participants were briefed on hand washing techniques and the danger of hospital acquired infection (HAI). Read more about SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands.

Patients for Patient Safety has a newsletter which is circulated quarterly. Each edition is packed with information about project developments, Patients for Patient Safety Champion activities and the progress of WHO Patient Safety. Read the latest edition here.

Read past Patients for Patient Safety News.

Patient Engagement in Medication Safety - Geneva, Switzerland - 23 May 2013 
On 23 May 2013, IAPO held a joint side meeting at the World Health Organization's (WHO) 66th World Health Assembly with the Government of Australia and WHO Patient Safety Programme.

Unsafe medication is a major issue in both developed and developing countries, causing millions of patient injuries and costing billions of dollars to healthcare systems. Engaging patients in medication safety is essential to improve health outcomes and prevent patients from being harmed.

The meeting raised awareness of the importance of patient engagement in improving medication safety; shared country experiences; and served as a call to action to promote patient and family engagement in medication safety. It also highlighted examples of patient engagement at the individual, organizational and national levels.

Speakers from Australia, Canada and Germany discussed the many ways in which patients can become more involved in making healthcare safer, such as through health literacy initiatives, co-design of policies and procedures and sitting on policy-making boards. The session concluded that to achieve improved medication safety strong partnerships with patients need to be developed based on the values of respect and equity.

Speakers included:

  • Sir Liam Donaldson, WHO Envoy for Patient Safety
  • Dr Chris Baggoley, Chief Medical Officer, Australia
  • Carol Bennett, IAPO Governing Board Member and CEO of Consumers Health Forum, Australia
  • Ed Kelley, Coordinator and Head of Strategic Programmes for WHO Patient Safety
  • Jo Groves, IAPO Chief Executive Officer
  • Dr Matthias Wienold, IAPO Member/Patients for Patient Safety Programme (PFPS)
  • Barbara Farlow, Patients for Patient Safety Programme (PFPS)

Read the press release on the side meeting

About IAPO and PFPS
IAPO is part of the core steering group for Patients for Patients Safety (PFPS). PFPS is a strand of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Patient Safety programme which promotes and facilitates patient involvement in patient safety initiatives. Individuals who have attended a PFPS Workshop are able to become a PFPS Champion once they have committed to the PFPS framework. PFPS Champions support the work of WHO Patient Safety and advocate for increased patient involvement in patient safety initiatives globally.

PFPS has trained over 250 Patient Champions in 52 Member States. These patient champions have been advocating for patient safety globally and a number of IAPO’s members are PFPS Champions. 

PFPS Champions undertake a wide range of activities, including raising awareness of patient safety issues as well as involvement in initiatives to improve patient safety. Many of the Champions have presented or run education sessions on encouraging patient engagement in patient safety to a wide range of healthcare stakeholders including ministries of health, healthcare professionals, patients and hospital boards. 

This work has led to many advances in patient safety including the development of patient-led patient safety organizations in Poland and Zambia and the partnering of Champions with healthcare policy-makers. This has demonstrated the valuable role that patients and patient advocates play in improving patient safety both through interactions with the healthcare system and by working in partnership with all those involved in healthcare. 

IAPO Patient Safety Toolkit
In 2008, IAPO produced Patient Safety Toolkit. The Toolkit highlights key patient safety issues and was developed in consultation with IAPO’s membership, WHO staff and PFPS Champions. The toolkit provides information on how to advocate and build partnerships to achieve patient safety goals and on communication messages to patients and other healthcare stakeholders.

If you would like to know more about WHO Patient Safety or specifically the Patients for Patient Safety action area, please contact WHO

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