Four out of 10 patients end up with more harms, says WHO

Four out of 10 patients end up with more harms, says WHO

Four out of 10 patients end up with more harms, says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said four out of ten patients are ‘harmed’ during the process of seeking medical care.

Many of these injuries can be prevented through quality healthcare services, it noted.

In order to raise awareness on the importance of patient safety globally, the 72nd World Health Assembly agreed that the World Patient Safety Day should be celebrated September 17.

The new international day is part of the strategies to call the attention of the government and policymakers across the world to making healthcare safer.

This year is the first edition and the theme is “patient safety: a global priority.

The UN agency said the safety of patients during the period of providing them health services is something that should not be taken for granted. It said most patients die avoidable deaths.

The Director General WHO, Tedros Gherbreyesus, in a statement to commemorate the day said no one should be harmed while receiving healthcare. He said, globally, at least five patients die every minute because of unsafe care.

“We need a patient safety culture that promotes partnership with patients, encourages reporting and learning from errors, and creates a blame-free environment where health workers are empowered and trained to reduce errors,” he said.

Often times, most detrimental errors are related to wrong diagnosis, prescription and the use of medicines.

WHO said medication errors alone cost an estimated $ 42 billion annually while unsafe surgical care procedures cause complications in up to 25 per cent of patients resulting in one million deaths during or immediately after surgery annually.

Also, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said patient harm is unaccepatable “that is why the UN health agency is calling for urgent action by countries around the world to reduce patient harm in healthcare”.

Ms Moeti, who was represented by the WHO officer in Nigeria, Clement Peter, said patient safety and quality of care are essential for delivering effective health services and achieving universal health coverage.

She said many factors, such as lack of national policies, standards, ineffective implementation of policies, lack of human resources, weak healthcare systems and poor management, among others hinders patient’s safety in the region.

“We cannot talk about patient safety if the health system is bad. It is important that hospitals are not death traps but a place where people can access the services they deserve,” she said


Editorial Chief, Nigerian Bureau

Kings UBA is a Nigerian journalist and writer. I have reported for major local and international news organisations. I write satire. In 2017, I started contributing stories primarily to Discover Africa News Network. I can be reached on I currently manage Discover Africa News social media handles