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‘Health worker safety is priority for patient safety’

19 Sep 2020

Oman joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Patient Safety Day, marked each year on September 17, with the theme this year being ‘Health worker safety – A priority for patient safety’.

This year’s World Patient Safety Day aims to raise global awareness about the importance of ensuring health worker safety and its inter linkages with patient safety, hence the slogan of this year’s campaign ‘Safe health workers, safe patients’.

‘Healthcare workers are the foundation of healthcare; taking into consideration their safety in the work environment through training and developing their skills is considered a national commitment,’ MoH said in a statement. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted huge global challenges and has only increased the daily risks faced by health workers in delivering essential healthcare services to patients which include infection, accidents, violence, illness and even death. It has also increased risks for patients accessing essential health services.

“It is crucial that we recognise the professionalism and dedication of health workers and invest greater resources to protect them from the occupational risks they face in the workplace. Eight months into this pandemic, we still see countries facing challenges in procuring adequate personal protective equipment for health workers and increasing testing capacity, which is impeding early detection, isolation of cases and tracing of contacts. This is placing health workers at unnecessary risk of infection, especially as we know that a large number of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic,” said Dr Ahmed al Mandhari, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Training on infection prevention and control measures is needed for those working on the front lines of this pandemic, coupled with supportive measures to enhance compliance of these measures in the workplace,” he added.

Policy-makers need to take necessary actions to formulate, update and implement policies and legislations to create a safer environment for health workers, and health leaders need to promote an open and transparent culture of safety in which incidents are promptly reported and staff receive appropriate training on infection prevention and control. 

Academics can contribute through generating evidence on health worker safety and patient safety to inform standards of practice, and to incorporate health worker safety and patient safety into educational curricula and continuing professional development.

This year on World Patient Safety Day, WHO is calling for collective action to support and promote health worker safety as a priority for patient safety. This call for collective action is aligned with the regional vision of ‘Health for All by All’.


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