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Patient safety key to ensuring trust in health systems, PAHO Deputy Director says

Patient safety key to ensuring trust in health systems, PAHO Deputy Director says

Santiago de Chile, 19 April 2024 (PAHO) – While ensuring the technical quality of health care services is crucial, the Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization, Mary Lou Valdez, has called on countries to urgently “protect the basic conditions of hygiene, health, physical safety, and personal dignity,” in clinical settings.

Speaking last week at the VI Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety, in Santiago, Chile, the Deputy Director underscored that “it is the experiences of individuals, families, and communities of the care they receive that determines their trust in health services.”

While countries of the Americas have made progress towards ensuring patient safety, health systems in the region remain fragmented. “This contributes to poor quality of care, adverse events, as well as patient dissatisfaction and mistrust,” Valdez said. For example, while mortality attributable to poor quality of care varies considerably between countries in the Region, it generally remains high, ranging from 47 to 350 deaths per 100,000 people.

The aim of this year’s summit, which took place from 17-18 April, was to provide countries with an opportunity to share experiences on how best to implement and sustain strategies to deliver safe health care.

During the summit, workshops were held on a variety of issues, including on quality assurance methodologies; clinical challenges such as childbirth and patients with comorbidities; and how to support countries in the implementation of the World Health Organization Plan of Action for Patient Safety 2021-2030.

The PAHO Deputy-Director highlighted that the PAHO will continue to work with countries of the region on the development of a culture of quality in the delivery of comprehensive health services, including through continuous process improvements, as well as the development of financing strategies to optimize the allocation of health resources.

“We have a tremendous responsibility and mission to reach the highest standards of health care delivery and patient safety,” she added. 

Por: Oscar Reyes

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