- A recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) claims 2.6 million people die every year in middle and low-income countries from incorrect medical care.
- The report, which was published before the first-ever World Patient Safety Day on September 17, reveals that five people die every minute from incorrect medical care.
- The health agency says the most common errors occur in diagnosis, prescription and use of medicines and that the deaths are completely preventable.
- The cost of prescribing the wrong medication alone is $42 billion a year.
Every year, 2.6 million people die in middle and low-income countries because of incorrect medical care, according to a recent report published by the World Health Organization (WHO). The health agency is hoping to shed light on the issue by launching a campaign in solidarity with patients on the first-ever World Patient Safety Day on September 17.
“No one should be harmed while receiving health care. And yet globally, at least 5 patients die every minute because of unsafe care,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
According to the report, four out of 10 patients suffer harm during primary care and outpatient treatment. The most common errors occur in diagnosis, prescription and use of medicines. The cost of prescribing the wrong medication alone is $42 billion a year.
“We need a patient safety culture that promotes partnership with patients, encourages reporting and learning from errors, and creates a blame-free environment where health workers are empowered and trained to reduce errors,” said Ghebreyesus.
Additionally, unsafe surgical procedures result in 1 million deaths during or immediately after surgery every year. WHO stresses that this is unacceptable and encourages urgent action by countries to try to reduce this number.
According to WHO, improving patient safety can even lead to significant financial savings. In the US alone, certain safety improvements in Medicare hospitals led to an estimated $28 billion in savings between 2010 and 2015.