World Patient Safety Day

Recognizing patient safety as a global health priority, all 194 WHO Member States at the 72nd World Health Assembly, in May 2019, endorsed the establishment of World Patient Safety Day (Resolution WHA72.6), to be marked annually on 17 September.


The objectives of World Patient Safety Day are to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and spur global solidarity and action to promote patient safety. Each year, a new theme is selected to shed light on a priority patient safety area where action is needed to reduce avoidable harm in health care and achieve universal health coverage.


The objective of the very first World Patient Safety Day, in 2019, was to raise global awareness about patient safety with the theme ‘Patient Safety: a global health priority’. 


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic unveiled the huge challenges and risks health workers face globally including healthcare-associated infections, violence, stigma, psychological and emotional disturbances, illness and even death. Therefore, the World Patient Safety Day 2020 Theme was 'Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety'.


Considering the significant burden of harm women and newborns are exposed to due to unsafe care, the 2021 World Patient Safety Day was dedicated to the need to prioritize and address safety in maternal and newborn care, particularly around the time of childbirth, when most harm occurs. This was especially important in the context of the disruption of health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had further compounded the situation. The official theme was 'Safe Maternal and Newborn Care'.


Medications are the most widely utilized interventions in health care, and medication-related harm constitutes the greatest proportion of the total preventable harm due to unsafe care, let alone the economic and psychological burden imposed by such harm. Acknowledging this substantial burden and recognizing the complexity of medication-related harm prevention and reduction,  "Medication Safety" has been selected as the theme for World Patient Safety Day 2022.


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