ISLAMABAD-As many as 2.6 million people die annually while 134 adverse events occur each year due to unsafe care in hospitals in low and middle income countries which harm every 4 out of 10 patients in primary and ambulatory settings of which up to 80 percent of cases could be avoided, said a statement issued here on Tuesday.

These facts and figures were shared by World Health Organization (WHO) representatives in a seminar in the Pakistan Institute of Medical of Medical Sciences (PIMS). The seminar was organised by the WHO in joint cooperation with Ministry of National Health Services and Regulation and PIMS in connection with World Patient Safety Day with slogan of the year ‘Speak up for the patient safety’ to promote the open communication for learning from errors and to emphasize the important of patient safety.

In his address, the WHO Head of Mission in Pakistan Dr Palitha Mahipala highlighted that this commemoration of world patient safety day was being celebrated for the first time worldwide given the importance of patient safety and avoidance of harm which may occur to patients encountering health care services.

He pointed out importance of the WHO initiative of patient safety friendly hospital’s which improves the quality of care and safety approaches. In Pakistan, 38 hospitals from all provinces both from public and private sector are enrolled in this initiative which will further improve the quality of services and ensure patient safety once the guidelines and approaches are implemented.

He said that while healthcare has brought enormous benefits to mankind, it is not without risks. He said that as per WHO estimates that there is a one-in-3,000,000 risk of dying during travel by airplane.

He added in contrast the risk of dying due to a preventable medical accident while receiving health care, is estimated to be one in 300.

He said 15 percent of hospital expenses can be attributed to treating patient safety failures in said kind of countries. “The global cost associated with medication errors has been estimated at US$42 billion annually which is not taking into account lost wages, productivity and healthcare costs”, he said.

The WHO said that of every 100 hospitalized patients, seven in high-income countries and 10 in low- and middle-income countries acquire one or more healthcare-associated infections. “Regardless of income level, different interventions, including hand hygiene, can reduce HAI rates by up to 55 percent”, he said.

While explaining, the country mission head said that unsafe surgery can cause complications in up to a quarter of patients, adding that although deaths from such complications have reduced markedly, they are still two to three times higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.

Dr Nosheen Hamid, parliamentary secretary ministry of health, said that patient safety emphasized the preventing, reducing, reporting and analyzing of adverse events -an adverse event. She also applauded WHO for organizing such kind of awareness sessions.

She said that improvising of health sector demands budget but care or safety requires no financial factors. “Care needs nothing budgetary allocation so it could be established everywhere either that is hospital or outside the hospital”, she claimed.

Other speakers said on the occasion that medication errors occur when weak medication systems and/or human factors such as fatigue, poor environmental conditions or staff shortages affect prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring practices, which can then result in severe harm, disability and even death.

They said that the Patient Safety is secure pillar to avoid from the outbreak and we have example of HIV outbreak in Larkana and many more like baby Nashwa and some others.

They highlighted the importance of safety in healthcare both domestically across the country, regionally and internationally, including our commitment to enabling greater international collaboration through initiatives taken in Pakistan in this regard.