World Patient Safety Day, established in 2019 by the 72nd World Health Assembly, is celebrated on 17th September to raise awareness on the importance of patient safety. It also serves as a call to have initiatives in place to reduce patient harm and to emphasize the role that everyone can play in improving patient safety.
This year’s theme, Engaging Patients for Patient Safety aptly captures the paradigm shift in healthcare today. According to the World Health Organization, patient safety is not just the responsibility of healthcare providers, but a collective effort that involves patients, families, and communities, as echoed though the slogan “Elevate the voice of patients!” pushes for a holistic approach where patients play an active role in their care, contributing their voice, concerns, expectations, and preferences to create a healthcare environment that values safety, patient-centeredness, trustworthiness, and equity.
Patient safety is everyone’s responsibility. It is about how we work together, emphasizing the need for better patient safety practices to prevent harm and make sure that patients get the best possible care.
One significant concern in the modern health landscape is self-medication, a global public health issue with prevalence rates skyrocketing to 92%. Coupled with counterfeit drugs and unregulated medical products, there’s an escalated risk of adverse drug reactions. This is where the science of pharmacovigilance steps in. Pharmacovigilance, by monitoring and evaluating the effects of medicines and vaccines, ensures the masses are shielded from potential drug-related problems.
It is noteworthy to mention a remarkable initiative in the realm of pharmacovigilance from Africa: The Pharmacovigilance Electronic Reporting System (PvERS). Developed through a partnership between IntelliSOFT Consulting and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Kenya, PvERS is the continent’s first digital health solution compatible with Vigiflow, which is managed by the World Health Organization at the Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC). PvERS provides an innovative platform for reporting adverse effects from pharmaceutical products, flawed health products, and immunization. Available to both the general public and healthcare providers, it emphasizes the core message of World Patient Safety Day: the need for patients to be proactive in their healthcare.
PvERS, developed by IntelliSOFT Consulting, serves as a testament to the potential of digital health solutions in amplifying patient safety. By allowing individuals to directly report any adverse events, it promotes transparency and a feedback-driven approach to healthcare, enabling professionals to make informed decisions.
As we observe World Patient Safety Day, it’s crucial to understand that patient safety is not a passive aspiration but an active commitment. Platforms like PvERS, which bring pharmacovigilance to our fingertips, pave the way for a future where every individual is both a beneficiary and a contributor to a safe, trustworthy, and equitable healthcare system.
With continuous advancements and collaborations like PvERS, we can look forward to a world where every patient is empowered, informed, and engaged in their care journey, echoing the WHO’s call for greater patient participation for a safer healthcare environment.