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World patient safety day marked amid calls to reduce patient harm



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Kenya joined the rest of the world in marking this year’s world patient safety day amid calls to improve patient safety.

During the celebrations on Friday morning, Public Health and Professional Standards Principal Secretary Mary Muthoni kick started the day by holding a walk at Afya House. She underscored the government’s commitment to prioritize patient involvement in policy, governance, safety strategies, and their own care.

She said statistics from WHO indicate that around 1 in every 10 patients is harmed during health care and over 3 million deaths recorded annually due to unsafe care with the situation worse in low-to-middle income countries, where as many as 4 in 100 people die from unsafe care.

“A critical aspect of patient safety is the active engagement of patients in their own care. Inadequate communication between healthcare providers, patients, and their families can lead to misunderstandings, missed information, and ultimately errors in diagnosis and treatment. When patients and/or their families are well-informed and involved in decision-making, they become partners in their healthcare journey.” She observed.

Speaking in Geneva during the 2023 patient safety global conference, health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha said building trust between patients and healthcare providers is vital to promote a conducive environment where patients feel empowered to participate actively in their care.

“The evidence is clear…..when patients are engaged as partners in their care, significant gains are realized in safety, efficiency in healthcare systems, overall patient satisfaction, reduction of costs and improved health outcomes.” She told the forum.

She said Kenya has made significant strides in patient safety through institutionalization of patient safety within the Ministry of Health as well as formulating policies on infection prevention and control and antimicrobial resistance to safeguard patient well-being.

World Patient Safety Day calls for global solidarity and concerted action by all countries and international partners to improve patient safety. The day brings together patients, families, caregivers, communities, health workers, health care leaders and policy-makers to show their commitment to patient safety.

The resolution WHA 72.6 ‘Global action on patient safety’ recognizes patient safety as a global health priority and endorses the establishment of world patient safety day to be observed annually on 17 September.

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