In recognition of the first annual World Patient Safety Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a global campaign to focus attention on the issue of patient safety.
According to WHO, millions of patients are harmed each year due to unsafe healthcare practices. As a result, around 2.6 million people die annually in low to middle income countries alone – and many of these deaths are avoidable.
Research indicates that four out of every ten patients are harmed during primary and ambulatory healthcare. That harm often takes the form of errors related to diagnosis, prescription and the use of medicines. Unsafe medical procedures can also cause complications in up to 25% of patients, resulting in one million yearly deaths during or immediately after surgery.