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Ministry of Health Patient Safety Day Talking Points on COVID-19


DateUpdated on 15 September 2020
ContactCommunication Unit, MOH,  

Key messages

  1. On 17 September, we celebrate World Patient Safety Day because to realize quality health care, the first step is to do no harm, yet in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries globally, every year, there are 134 million adverse events due to unsafe care, contributing to 2.6 million lives lost.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed that to keep patients safe, health workers must be protected, and so this year’s theme is Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is presently among the biggest challenges and threats to face the world and humanity, and health care is living its greatest crisis in patient safety ever.  Health systems can only function with health workers, and a knowledgeable, skilled and motivated health workforce is critical for the provision of safe care to patients.
  • Considering the ongoing challenges, a key activity of the global campaign for World Patient Safety Day 2020 focuses on: lighting up a prominent monument, public space, or natural feature in orange as a gesture of respect and gratitude to all health workers, to recognize the essential work health workers do.

Why was the World Safety Day established?

As a part of the global action on patient safety, the 72nd World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on 24th May 2019 to address global patient safety in a concerted manner. Part of this resolution was the adoption of 17th September as a World Patient Safety Day.

By having a World Patient Safety Day, we can prioritize and address patient safety through global solidarity and concerted action from all member countries, stakeholders, patients and international partners. This approach is similar to our Patient Solidarity Day, where we involve the entire community and all government actors in the effort.

Global observance of WPSD aims to:

  • Raise awareness of patient safety issues globally
  • Enhance global understanding on the central role of patient safety in achieving Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Encourage development of systems and procedures for the elimination of all avoidable health care related harm to patients, and management of risks in health care 
  • Encourage governments to commit to and support the implementation of strategies for ensuring patient safety, managing risks and fostering supportive, learning cultures  
  • Strengthen collaboration and partnerships at global, regional, national and local levels for implementing patient safety strategies and for improving safety of health care
  • Highlight specific patient safety themes such as Medication Safety, Education and Training in Patient Safety, Reporting and learning systems, and Patient Engagement 

Situation of Patient Safety in Liberia

  • Baseline assessment of patient safety in 42% (16) health facilities demonstrated poor standards of safety (47% average score) in our health facilities,
  • Weak areas highlighted for the survey: 1) patient safety surveillance and research, 2) medication safety, 3) surgical care and 4) patient safety funding

Ongoing efforts on Patient Safety

  • Establishment of the Quality Management |Unit at the Ministry of Health
  • Quarterly hand hygiene audits at healthcare facilities
  • Development of the National IPC guidelines
  • Establishment of quality teams at the facility level
  • Regular supervision and mentorship and mentorship of health facilities on IPC across the country
  • Development of the National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
  • National launch of the 3rd Global Safety Challenge, “Medication without harm”

Needed actions to improve patient safety in Liberia

  • Development of protocol for implementation of surgical site infection surveillance
  • Established Infection Prevention and Control Program at all levels of the Healthcare System with IPC guidelines,
  • Annual commemoration of IPC Week, Global Hand washing Days to raise awareness and improve Patient Safety,
  • Provide periodic training on patient safety best practices for health workers,
  • Ensure the availability of Infection prevention control supplies in all healthcare facilities in the country,
  • Emphasize patient safety and quality in training curriculum for health care professionals in Liberia (WHO Patient Safety Curriculum – multi-professional edition, can be adapted).

Signed: _______________________________________

           Felecia Gbesioh

          Director of Communication, MOH

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