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July 18, 2019

WHO patient safety mission shows way forward for improved healthcare

Islamabad

July 18, 2019

Islamabad:Supported by a network of focal points working in health facilities, Pakistan will constitute a national steering committee that will oversee compliance with evidence-based patient safety standards and norms, regulation and registration of healthcare providers and facilities, and the development of a hospital culture that promotes open discussion of safety issues.

A decision to this effect was taken in the light of recommendations of a mission comprising WHO and international experts who conducted a five-day visit to Pakistan from July 8-12 in order to help develop a culture of quality and safety. The delegation visited hospitals in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, and met senior health leaders including the Special Advisor to the PM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza, Provincial Health Minister for Punjab, and Health Secretary for Punjab and Sindh. They also held discussions with the Health Care Commissions of Punjab and Sindh.

The delegation, which shared its findings with Dr. Zafar, believes that while there is a clear commitment to address quality and safety, many challenges should be given serious consideration. Priority areas requiring attention include compliance with evidence-based patient safety standards such as in terms of infection prevention and control), regulation and registration of healthcare facilities , and the need to improve primary health care to reduce the number of patients using hospitals. Some very important steps have already been taken, for example establishment of provincial healthcare commissions.

Discussion between the Federal Ministry of Health and the delegation has identified a list of priority actions. This includes completion of a comprehensive review of quality and safety across Pakistan; enrolling a group of hospitals in the Patient Safety Friendly Hospital Initiative and supporting them to meet the required standards; and developing a national policy and strategy for quality of healthcare, with close involvement of each of the provinces. And it is to oversee all these efforts that a national steering committee for quality and safety will be created.

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