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Addressing patient safety at #WHA74

28 May 2021

This is a statement made at the 74th session of the World Health Assembly on Agenda item 13.1: Global action on patient safety by the International Alliance of Patients Organizations, International Atherosclerosis Society, International Diabetes Federation, International Ergonomics Association, International Hospital Federation, World Federation of Public Health Associations, World Heart Federation, International Society of Nephrology and World Organization of Family Doctors.


The International Alliance of Patients Organizations and nine Non-State Actors in Official Relationship with WHO forming a Constituency to Agenda item 13.1 welcome and endorse the decision made by the 148th Session of the Executive Board on 21 January 2021 to recommend that the 74th World Health Assembly consider and adopt the WHO Flagship Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030.

In order to build back better and ensure we have people-centred accessible, acceptable, affordable, and quality healthcare systems and universal health coverage, we first must ensure patient safety across the whole healthcare spectrum from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care across the life course.

We concur with the Executive Board and the DG and urge the Member States to incorporate the Six Guiding Principles and engage the patients, their families, and carers in co-creating safe care and strengthen Primary Health Care with family doctors. It is particularly important that we instil a patient safety culture in the design and delivery of universal health coverage 2030. Safe care fosters trust in health systems, health professionals and medical products. Trust can be undermined by products and interventions that do not adhere to the highest standards of quality, such as substandard and falsified medicines.

After having witnessed fragmented responses to patient and health professional safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is now important that the WHO Flagship Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030 be implemented in close collaboration with all stakeholders. We must not leave any one out or behind.

The global action on patient safety must be evidence based, putting research into patient safety practice, and patient safety practice and learnings back into research. Use of scientific expertise and patient experience must drive patient safety policies and actions that are appropriate for each care setting.

We urge the WHA 74 to adopt this Resolution.


Constituency Parties: NSA in Official relationship with WHO

International Alliance of Patients Organizations (IAPO)

International Atherosclerosis Society (IAS)

International Diabetes Federation (IDF)

International Ergonomics Association (IEA)

International Hospital Federation (IHF)

World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA)

World Heart Federation (WHF)

International Society of Nephrology (ISN)

World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA)