World Patient Safety Day adopted by 72nd World Health Assembly

Thursday, 13 June 2019

We at IAPO are extremely delighted that on Friday 24th May 2019 the World Health Organization(WHO) Member States from all 194 countries endorsed the establishment of a World Patient Safety Day to be marked annually on 17 September and officially including it on WHO list of health dates.

This is very exciting news as our main message at the 72nd World Health Assembly was  "Patient safety must be put first in pursuit of Universal Health Coverage as this will reassure communities to trust their health care systems to keep them & their families safe". 

About the campaign

The World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) is a campaign for all stakeholders in the health care system to work together to improve patient safety. Its a recognition of the scale of avoidable harm linked with medical errors.

It’s a global commitment made by all WHO member states to recognize patient safety as a key health priority and agreeing to take action to reduce patient harm in health care settings.

It is all about getting global healthcare actors involved in:

  • Scaling up concerted global action on patient safety
  • Putting measures in place to reduce avoidable patient harm
  • Sharing awareness in patient safety in care settings
  • Raising awareness amongst the public and media on key issues relating to patient safety
  • Experimenting new ideas to improve patient safety
  • Helping patients to contribute to their own safety



The incidence of patient harm has become a global public health problem. The number of patients either injured, disabled or killed while accessing unsafe healthcare has become an issue of great concern globally. 
Every second of every day, someone in the world suffers avoidable harm due to receiving unsafe care or have the risk of being harmed while recieving health care. as a result of this, there is a danger that unsafe healthcare will undermine global efforts in setting up Universal Health Coverage. As one patient advocate said at the 72nd World Health Assembly: “ In my country, people are afraid to go to hospitals as they think they will come out in a coffin or with a severe disability. Hospitals and healthcare services stand the risk of being empty if the community does not trust them.”

Why WHO established a World Patient Safety Day

As a part of the global action on patient safety, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on 24th May 2019 to address global patient safety in a concerted manner. Part of this resolution is about adopting 17th September as a World Patient Safety Day.
The WHO thinks that by having a World Patient Safety Day, we can prioritize and address patient safety through global solidarity and concerted action by all countries, stakeholders, patients and international partners. This approach is similar to our Patient Solidarity Day, where we involve whole of society and whole of government in the effort. 

Objectives of World Patient Safety Day

Global observance of WPSD aims to: 
  • Raise awareness of patient safety issues globally
  • Enhance global understanding on the central role of patient safety in achieving Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals 
  • Encourage development of systems and procedures for the elimination of all avoidable health care related harm to patients, and management of risks in health care  
  • Encourage governments to commit to and support the implementation of strategies for ensuring patient safety, managing risks and fostering supportive, learning cultures   
  • Strengthen collaboration and partnerships at global, regional, national and local levels for implementing patient safety strategies and for improving safety of health care 
  • Highlight specific patient safety themes such as Medication Safety, Education and Training in Patient Safety, Reporting and learning systems, Patient Engagement  


Target audience

  • The general public, patients, families and communities 
  • Ministries of Health/health authorities
  • Health system leaders and health professionals
  • Hospitals and health care administrators
  •  Primary care centers
  • Professional organizations
  •  Patient-focused organizations and other related organizations


Expected Outcomes

  • Increased public understanding of the need for measures to ensure patient safety.
  •  Increased awareness and knowledge among health professionals on the essential need for strategies for patient safety and strengthening safety of health care.
  • Recognition of the role of patients and families in patient safety and strengthening of patient and family engagement in this critical issue.
  • Achievement of political commitment and support in countries as demonstrated by implementation of strategies for ensuring patient safety and improved management of risks in health service delivery.
  • Long term collaboration and coordination of efforts at all levels of heath care, in all types of settings to improve patient safety and eventually eliminate all avoidable patient harm, and significantly reduce the risk of harm.  

IAPO's Next Steps

  • On 17th September 2019 we will mark the 1st ever WPSD with our members and society

We therefore invite you to join us in marking the first ever World Patient Safety Day on 17th September 2019 as we all believe that no one should be harmed while seeking care. 


Further information